Kazakh billionaire to launch int'l pro-Israeli TV channel

11:06, April 08, 2011      

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A staunch Kazakh supporter of Israel announced earlier this week that he plans to set up a pro- Israeli television news channel that he hopes will become an Israel-focused version of the Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera.

Alexander Mashevich's decision comes after perceiving what he termed constant "negative information about Israel," and "the need for accurate news on the country," The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported on Thursday.

Mashevich holds Israeli citizenship and is considered a significant philanthropist, in addition to being a strong Israel supporter.

An expert in journalism, communication, and Judaism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was doubtful about the prospects of the venture garnering enough of a viewing audience to stay afloat.

"I don't really see the monetary interest in this venture and I don't think it will end up being a success," Prof. Menahem Blondheim told Xinhua on Thursday. "Because the sector that might be interested in the TV channel would be very small if we take into account that there are only 13 million Jews in the world," he said.

Blondheim, an associate professor of American studies and communication, believes that the likely core audience for such a news channel would essentially be politically right-of-center.

"If you are going to openly support Israel like he says he does, " Blondheim said, "you are losing a big chunk of the world audience."

"But to say you want to rival Al-Jazeera is not realistic," Blondheim stressed, "because the Arab population in the world is gigantic, so it is not possible to compete with them at that level. Not to mention the enormous budget he would need."

Mashevich, who currently heads the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, made the announcement during a fund raising conference for the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal. He did not disclose a starting date for the project.

Mashevich made his fortune during Russia's period through investments in gas and metal in Kazakhstan, and is at 208th place on Forbes's billionaires list.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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