France 24 sets Dec. 6 launch date

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PARIS -- France 24, the first French 24-hour international satellite TV news channel, will hit the air on Dec. 6, the company announced Monday.

With a team of 170 journalists of 27 different nationalities led by Chairman Alain de Pouzilhac, the multilingual station, run as a partnership between TF1 and France Televisions, will air in French and English (one channel 100% in French and another 75% in English and 25% in French), with Arabic broadcasts to arrive next year, followed three years later by Spanish-language programming.

France 24, a government-sponsored project and brainchild of Jacques Chirac, hopes to challenge the traditional Anglo-Saxon vision of the world by creating a veritable CNN a la Francaise, accessible to 80 million households in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

France 24 will broadcast in New York and Washington and hopes to eventually extend throughout the Americas and Asia. The channel also will be readily available to members of the United Nations, the European Parliament and the European Commission. This new station, designed to offer a French perspective on world news and issues, is starting out with an annual operating budget of €80 million ($102 million).

France 24 will feature news bulletins, current events, international press reviews and overviews of the world economy and stock markets in addition to weather forecasts, talk shows and debates.

In addition to satellite, cable TV and ADSL broadcasts, the France 24 Web site will be integrated into the channel's multimedia strategy, with video available both live and on-demand.
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