Arab News Network

Arab News Network

Arab News Network

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Arab News Network (ANN) is a minor Arab news channel broadcast on satellite from London.

ANN is owned by Rifaat al-Assad, the former vice president of Syria, and uncle of the current President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. The two are in sharp disagreement, with the Paris-based Rifaat al-Assad allegedly having claimed right of succession after Hafiz al-Assad, who had exiled him after he attempted to seize power. ANN was started in the late 1990s by Rifaat and his immediate family, as part of a media network designed to promote their political positions vis-à-vis the Syrian government and other Arabic countries, as Hafiz al-Assad's poor health began to raise the issue of succession. The channel states its goal to be a democratic reform in the framework of a Baath Syria.

The station broadcast daily English news from November 2004 to March 2006, but since then has been broadcasting solely in Arabic. The desire to remove the programme reflected a change in management. Rifaat's son, Ribal al-Assad, is currently Director of the London Bureau. He decided to cancel the English programming due what he perceived to be the lack of an audience for it.

The channel has faced great financial issues. Major restructuring has been undertaken and technological updates have been acquired by the channel in order to improve its image.

ANN is currently broadcasting on Hotbird and Arabsat and aims to soon start broadcasts on Nilesat.

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