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Wadah Khanfar, Ex-Al Jazeera Chief, Warns Al Jazeera America Won't Succeed If It Parrots US Cable News

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Waddah Khanfar, the director general of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, speaks during a press conference in Doha 01 November 2006.
Waddah Khanfar, the director general of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, speaks during a press conference in Doha 01 November 2006.

Wadah Khanfar, the former Director General of Al Jazeera, said Monday that he believes Al Jazeera America can fill space in the U.S. cable market with next month's launch.

In an interview with HuffPostLive's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Khanfar said he believes Al Jazeera America can achieve this is it "follows the standards of integrity of reporting, if Al Jazeera could give voice to the voiceless, if Al Jazeera could concentrate on the margin rather than the center, if it could provide new insight into the diversity of the world, which I do believe the American media is in need for."

Some within Al Jazeera have questioned whether the forthcoming network, which has hired executives and hosts with traditional US network experience, will serve as a real alternative to CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Philip Seib, a journalist who wrote a book on Qatar-owned media organization, told HuffPost that if Al Jazeera America decides to "play it safe, "they're doomed."

Khanfar echoed that viewpoint.

"If Al Jazeera America becomes just another mainstream TV station, it is definitely not going to succeed," Khanfar said. "So the challenge becomes what kind of editorial line the guys in the newsroom will take. I do believe, given the heritage of Al Jazeera itself in Arabic and in English, I think Al Jazeera will succeed in introducing another perspective on the news that the American market is in need for."

Khanfar also spoke about the need for more professional reporting instead of opinionated news and that "we should as journalists liberate the news from politicization and propaganda."

Khanfar joined HuffPost Live for a wide-ranging discussion of the ongoing violence in Egypt and its implications for American foreign policy and regional stability.

Watch the full interview below:

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