Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pan-African news channel, A24 recruits ex-CNN chief

Chris Cramer, former head of international channels for CNN, will take a leading role in the launch of the multimedia, all news pan-African channel, A24.

The respected global media executive, who promoted coverage of Africa across CNN’s programmes and channels, will become non-executive chairman of A24’s Editorial Advisory Board once the channel gets start-up funding

A24, due to be launched next year, will encourage intra-African dialogue by presenting relevant stories, told by African journalists, going beyond the norm of disease, poverty, and corruption. Instead, A24 will explore investment, development, and trade, among other subjects -- areas frequently ignored by the world’s media. A24’s programming will create economic opportunity and promote freedom and transparency among African nations by painting a new, exciting, picture of the continent.

Salim Amin, the channel’s chairman and founder, has worked with Cramer for more than a decade. Amin runs Camerapix, East Africa’s most successful news production facility. His award winning documentary, “Mo & Me”, about his father’s 40-year career as Africa’s top photo and video journalist, has been screened at dozens of film festivals around the world, including Cannes.

“I am delighted that Chris had agreed to become part of Africa’s most exciting media project,” says Amin, 37. “Putting his experience with the BBC and, more recently CNN, to use for the African continent will help make A24 the African broadcast news leader. He has always been a strong advocate of African journalism and A24 will turn many of our mutual aspirations into reality.”

A24’s aim, over a period of time, is to open 46 two-person bureaux across Africa and in London and Washington DC. A24 will operate a multi-media platform to make it accessible to Africans through a range of distribution methods.

Streamed highlights of A24 content will be available on the internet and video and audio podcasts will be created. The service will also tap into the growing mobile phone market in Africa. It is expected that in the next three years an additional 150 million people will have mobile phones on the continent