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Al Jazeera International names Rageh Omaar to host 'Witness'

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MUMBAI: Al Jazeera International, the 24-hour English language news and current affairs channel, has named the renowned journalist Rageh Omaar to host a daily documentary strand Witness.

Witness will be what its title implies, a programme of first-hand account. No academics, no commentators unless they are themselves 'Witnesses'.

The programme will give voice to witnesses from all over the globe, featuring human stories made by storytellers from all walks of life. The documentary Witness will include material gathered from freelancers and independent companies all across the globe through a unique commissioning site www.ajicommissioning.net.

Al Jazeera International director programming Paul Gibbs says, “As the channel’s daily documentary strand, Witness will be the epitome of traditional storytelling with characters that we care about and age old themes presented by internationally renowned journalist Rageh Omaar. We will be unveiling more of our diverse programme offering as we get closer to launch in late Spring of this year,” Gibbs continued.

“It’s hugely exciting to be joining a channel which promises to revolutionise global news and current affairs” said Omaar.

Rageh will continue to make programmes for other broadcasters. Rageh Omaar was most recently BBC News' Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg. His reporting during the Iraq war made him a household name. Many of his broadcasts were syndicated across the US, where the Washington Post labelled him the 'Scud Stud'.

Previously Rageh was developing world correspondent for the BBC covering stories ranging from drought in Ethiopia to devastating floods in Mozambique. Prior to that he was Amman correspondent having taken a three-month sabbatical at the University of Jordan to study Arabic. Between 1994 and 1996, he worked as a broadcast journalist for the World Service and then became a producer and reporter for Newshour.

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