CNN to expand Middle East production facilities

CNN International is to start broadcasting live daily news programming from a brand new broadcast facility in Abu Dhabi.

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CNN International is to start broadcasting live daily news programming from a brand new broadcast facility in Abu Dhabi. The development is part of ongoing plans for CNN's new broadcast and production centre set to open in Abu Dhabi's newly launched media zone in early 2009.

In addition to a daily local-primetime newscast, the new production centre in Abu Dhabi will provide the infrastructure for expanded newsgathering activities in the region. It will enhance CNN's existing representation in the region, which currently comprises news operations in Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai and Jerusalem.

The Abu Dhabi operation will be the network's fourth international broadcast centre alongside its facilities in London, Hong Kong and Mexico City; and US production centres.

“Our UAE expansion is one of our boldest editorial undertakings of recent years and one that builds on our existing newsgathering heritage in the region,” stated Tony Maddox, MD CNN International. “For a global news organisation, the Middle East was the logical choice for an investment of this scale. Our new operation in Abu Dhabi will enable us to continue to meet the demands of our audiences at a time when many of our competitors are having to retrench.

“With a successful long standing operation in Dubai, the natural next step is to have a base in the capital. We have long covered the Middle East comprehensively on our air and now we will have the on-the-ground infrastructure to serve, support and facilitate that coverage to the next level through these operations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

In addition to the launch of live daily news programming, CNN will also move the production of its popular Middle East focused feature shows Inside the Middle East and Marketplace Middle East to the UAE.

The new CNN hub will be a custom-built news centre overseen by the managing editor CNN Abu Dhabi. The operation will house approximately 30 staff including a new CNN International anchor; and programming, production and newsgathering staff.

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