Al Jazeera and Brazil’s Bandeirantes Are Now Partners in News

Al Jazeera's news broadcast An agreement recently announced between Al Jazeera TV, from Qatar, and Bandeirantes, a Brazilian communications company, established a new direct pathway for information between Brazil and the Arab world. The opinion was expressed by the director general at BandNews, the news channel of the Bandeirantes television network, Humberto Candil, who negotiated the partnership.

The agreement provides for exchange of journalistic material, operational support, and exchange of teams.

"Al Jazeera needed a partner in Brazil, a source in the country, and we needed an exclusive source in the Middle East, which is very important from a technical point of view. They can obtain, for instance, images that the other channels do not have," Candil said. "These are two communications groups that can complement each other in various fields, especially the journalistic one," he claimed.

Before the agreement, Band depended only on international agencies to obtain news from the Arab world, and the same happened with Al Jazeera regarding Brazil. Now, according to the executive, the effect of the direct flow of news, without intermediaries, can already be felt.

"It is already taking place. During the visit of president Bush to Brazil, they put together a structure and broadcasted from here, using our newsroom and our journalistic material," he stated.

"Over the course of four days, exclusive material was broadcast about Brazil, not just urban violence, for instance," he said. The president of the United States, George W. Bush, was in São Paulo in March.

During that period, the Al Jazeera English channel showed news reports about the Arab colony in Brazil, the production of ethanol, and the size of the southeastern Brazilian city of São Paulo.

"We have also been receiving lots of material, and not only about the Middle East," said Candil. In his assessment, the news exchange and the physical presence of professionals from the other network open up possibilities for new guidelines for news stories.

A producer from Al Jazeera in English is already working at the Band premises, in São Paulo, and in around one month's time, a journalist from the Brazilian network will start working in the newsroom of the Arab network in Washington, in the United States. An interview with the former president of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has already been conducted by Al Jazeera in the Band studios.

According to Candil, the agreement started being negotiated approximately two months ago, and has not been formalized yet, but it is already in effect in practice. Besides television, exchange of material may take place in other media as well, such as radio, for instance.

There is also the possibility for one network producing programs for the other. "We are open to this type of production, it just requires further discussion. The idea is not to get just factual material, but also special material, and even documentaries," he claimed.

Bandeirantes is one of the major Brazilian communications companies. It owns two free-to-air television networks: Bandeirantes and Play TV, three subscription channels (BandNews, BandSports and Terraviva, the latter specializing in agribusiness) five radio stations, one cable TV operator, two newspapers as well as Internet services. The company generates 2,500 direct and 5,000 indirect jobs, according to its website.

Headquartered in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera English also has studios in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, London, and Washington, and 18 branches throughout the world. Including the channel in Arabic, the number of branches rises to 60. The channel, which has 700 employees of 45 different nationalities, was launched in November last year, after the success of the Arabic version.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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