Paris – FRANCE 24’s Arabic language channel began broadcasting 24/7 on October 12 at 12:00pm (Paris time). Less than four years after its launch in December 2006, FRANCE 24 is the first French channel to provide a 24/7 signal in Arabic entirely dedicated to international news. From a broadcast of four hours per day since 2 April 2007, the channel had grown to 10 hours per day in April 2009. This new format will enable FRANCE 24 to pursue its founding principles, and in particular that of its Arabic channel, to cover global news from a French perspective, promoting healthy debate and balanced ideas, and striving for an open outlook on international diversity and its pressing challenges. Mainly intended to reach Arabic-speaking viewers in the Near and Middle East and the Maghreb, the channel will also be largely broadcast in France, Europe and Africa through the satellites Hot Bird, Arabsat and Nilesat. Like the two other FRANCE 24 channels, in French and English, the Arabic channel will continue to follow the same editorial focus: news, economy, culture, sports and weather. In its 24/7 format, the Arabic channel has been designed around a schedule similar to that of the English and French channels with particular emphasis on the evening and prime-time slots (8pm to 1am) with an active programming on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday being working days in Arabic countries. In addition, Brice Bertrand, distribution director Asia Pacific for FRANCE 24 told Television Asia Plus that the 24/7 French feed will be launched by October 20 on the ASIASAT 5 satellite, where FRANCE 24 24/7 English feed is already available. “Despite the very large offerings of television channels, there is still a missing news channel in French, reaching the French expats, as well as viewers that are speaking French or willing to improve their French language knowledge,” said Bertrand. “Regarding our 24/7 English version, our ambition is to see the channel widely retransmitted on basic offers of satellite, cable, mobile and IPTV operators, for free. In the meantime, we intend to see our French version proposed as premium content, in specific packages and stand alone offers,” he added.