Tony Burman on Al Jazeera
Tony Burman on Al Jazeera
February 17, 2009, Toronto
"AL JAZEERA ENGLISH TO SEEK DISTRIBUTION IN CANADA" press release
by Andrew Hind
Sixteen months after leaving CBC News as editor-in-chief and moving to Doha, Qatar, as Managing Director of the Al Jazeera English network, Tony Burman has landed back in the lap of controversy.
The network has been the only international broadcaster reporting the Gaza crisis from both sides of the conflict. Some critics have speculated that its Gaza coverage may become the same breakthrough for Al Jazeera English that the Gulf War was for CNN. Recently, it created an uproar during the U.S. presidential election when a report by one of its reporters showed angry American voters making stinging comments about Barack Obama's religion and race. It became the buzz on blogs and prompted Burman to mount AJE's defence on The Huffington Post.
In Doha, meanwhile, the media have turned a spotlight on Burman's efforts to shake up Al Jazeera English.
What is a reserved man from Montreal, a 35-year CBC news veteran, doing in the middle of yet another controversial assignment? And why isn't this award-winning channel –- broadcast in 130 million households in more than 100 countries with 70 foreign news bureaus -– seen in Canada?
Find out Burman's take on Al Jazeera English, his plans for reshaping the service and the future of journalism in the Middle East.
After Burman's presentation, there will be a Q&A with the audience moderated by CBC's Susan Ormiston. A reception will follow.
WHERE: Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto (map and directions)
WHEN: Tuesday, February 17, 2009. Presentation 6:30-8:00, Reception 8:00-9:00
Tony Burman has been Managing Director of Al Jazeera’s English-language channel since May, 2008. Between 2000-2007, he was editor-in-chief and executive director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC News) – the largest news organization in Canada – and implemented the successful integration of CBC's radio, TV and online operations. In a career that has spanned more than three decades, he has been an award-winning news and documentary producer with field experience in more than 30 countries, including the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America. His programs have been broadcast in a dozen countries, and he has received more than 100 awards for programming and network achievements in Canada, US, UK, France, Monte Carlo and Argentina.
Susan Ormiston is a correspondent for news and documentaries on CBC News: The National. She can also be seen and heard guest hosting CBC's top radio and television programs. As a correspondent, Susan has covered several prominent events. In 1994, Susan was in South Africa for the first free elections that brought Nelson Mandela to power. She's travelled widely in North America reporting for the last 25 years and has been part of nearly every election reporting team since 1984. More recently, Susan covered the conflict between Israel and Lebanon in 2006, and reported from Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.
Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel with the same name, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages, and in several regions of the world. Al Jazeera English, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, is headquartered in Doha, the capital of Qatar, making it the world's first global English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. The station broadcasts news, current affairs, features, analysis, documentaries, live debates, entertainment, business and sport. With broadcasting centres in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC and supporting bureaux worldwide, it has a potential global audience of over one billion English speakers.