Official: JCC to leave Qatar Foundation for Al Jazeera (15 June 2013, Doha news)

The Al Jazeera Media Network is in the process of fully acquiring JCC (formerly Al Jazeera Children’s Channel) from Qatar Foundation, a senior JCC official has confirmed to Doha News.

Several meetings solidifying the terms of the agreement have recently taken place, but the final details are still being hammered out, the official said, asking to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to media.

Spokesmen for QF and Al Jazeera declined to comment on the matter.

JCC first launched in 2005 as a private shareholding company, 90 percent of which was owned by QF, and 10 percent owned by Al Jazeera. Officials said QF is selling its share of the network, but details of the financial transaction remain unclear.

According to Arabic-language Al Watan newspaper, stakeholders thought the children’s broadcaster would fit better with the Al Jazeera Network because both focus on television programming. The newspaper added that JCC appears to be seeking a higher profile:

The reason behind moving JCC to (the) Al Jazeera Network is to showcase it in a more distinguished manner by working within a professional framework that is governed by unified managerial standards.

Leadership woes

The award-winning broadcaster, which reaches an estimated 50 million households across the Middle East, has been in flux over the past two years after the suddenly dismissal of some 30 senior members in the fall of 2011.

Three of its former executives were charged in a Doha court last month of financial mismanagement.

Human Rights Watch recently spoke out against a travel ban that was imposed on the trio, which includes manager Mahmoud Bouneb, his wife and former director of programming Malika Alouane, and former cost controlling manager Haitham Qudaih, almost two years ago.

The case is ongoing.

Cultural mandate

JCC’s mission is to “preserve Arab cultural identity and instill the values for a promising and talented generation.”

In March, the company announced that it was rebranding its flagship channel (now called JeemTV) to better appeal to its target audience of 7 to 12-year-olds.

Also that month, JCC made headlines after reaching a licensing deal for children’s films and TV shows from Walt Disney’s Middle East and North Africa unit.

The programming that was secured includes Disney/Pixar movies, such as A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, Cars and Tangled; and live-action and animated series, such as Phineas and Ferb, Kim Possible and Zeke and Luther.

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