TEHRAN - Iran has launched an Arabic-language satellite news channel for a two-month trial period to see how it fares in the battle for Arab opinion against Al-Jazeera and other giants.
Al-Alam (The World in Arabic), owned by Iran's government-run IRIB radio and television network, began six-hour daily broadcasts on Sunday.
Director Mohsen Roghani said the initial trial would be for a maximum of two months. The channel will be dedicated to news broadcasts, interspersed with documentaries.
Roghani said Al-Alam, which currently emits through four satellites, will be available to viewers around the world following an imminent contract-deal for use of a fifth satellite.
While the competition is tough, the Arabic-language channel was launched to meet viewer demands for more news, he said, explaining that news in English and Farsi is already provided on the Jam-e-Jam network.
He said the demand came from viewers of Iran's Sahar channels which are more generalist and broadcast in several languages including Arabic.