14 November The Australian / London Times - Mid-East Channel's English Launch.

Al-Jazeera, the news and current affairs network whose broadcasts were once denounced as propaganda by Donald Rumsfeld, will launch its long-awaited English-language channel tomorrow in the hope of tipping the balance of the international news agenda.

Based in Qatar and funded by the country's Emir, al-Jazeera International has poached journalists such as David Frost, Rageh Omar and BBC newsreader Darren Jordon.

Its goal is to become a respected and impartial provider of news and to act as an alternative to the US and European media.

It will employ 250 journalists of 47 nationalities.

Managing director Nigel Parsons promised a different sort of news agenda.

"When our rivals covered the verdict of the Saddam trial, they went back to London and Washington for the reaction of Middle East experts. Our experts are Arabs in the Middle East," he said.

Jordon, who will be a news anchor based in Doha, said it was exciting to work with people from a range of cultures. His former employer, the BBC, was once described as "hideously white" by its former director-general Greg Dyke...