BAGHDAD — The family of Lebanese parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri has taken a long hard look into the Future and decided news is the way ahead.
Future News will be launched on Nov. 21 as the wealthy Hariri family expands its media empire, which already comprises satcaster Future TV and the Al-Mostaqbal newspaper.
The 24-hour Arabic-language news channel will air the same day that Lebanon’s parliament is set to elect a new president amid a deepening political crisis.
At launch, Future News will operate seven hours a day but plans to be 24/7 by the end of the year, according to project manager Nadim Munla.
Operating on what Munla describes as a modest budget, it will have 250 to 300 employees and correspondents in 10 cities including Beirut, Lebanon; Washington, D.C.; Paris; Tehran, Iran; Gaza City; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The focus will be on Lebanon, but programming will also include international news.
The party of Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun launched Orange TV on July 20, joining most other political parties that own or control TV stations, including Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which runs the Al-Manar satcaster.
A deadlock between the country’s pro- and anti-Syrian camps is threatening a presidential vote to replace head of state Emile Lahoud, whose mandate expires Nov. 24.
Parliament speaker Nabih Berri has already cancelled three parliamentary sessions to elect a successor to Lahoud. Most believe the last-ditch session on Nov. 21 will meet the same fate and the country will be plunged into further chaos.