Blair lined up as Frost’s guest on Al Jazeera Int.


Al Jazeera is understood to have lined up Tony Blair as the inaugural guest of Sir David Frost for the launch of its English-language version.

According to media reports the Prime Minister will be interviewed by the veteran broadcaster for the first edition of his ‘Frost Over the World’ show, two days after the English-language version of the channel, which launches on Wednesday 15th November.

The interview, which is certain to address the conflict on Iraq, will be pre-recorded on the day and then shown at 19:00 on Friday 17th November.

The interview is a significant coup for the Qatar-based channel, which has been dogged by technical delays in the launch of its English-language version, although it has secured a number of other high-profile broadcasters and journalists in addition to Frost.

Its line-up of broadcasters includes a number of former BBC journalists such as Rageh Omar and Darren Jordon, as well as Mark Seddon, the former editor of left-wing newspaper Tribune.

It has also emerged that the English language version will broadcast from multiple cities around the world during each day, with programmes coming from London, Washington and Kuala Lumpur.

Blair is likely to get a warm reception from many senior figures at Al Jazeera after it was alleged that, during a meeting in 2004, he had talked US President George Bush out of bombing the station’s Doha headquarters.

It has since been revealed in David Blunkett’s diaries that Blunkett too wanted to bomb the station.

Blunkett recently told the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme (a two-part screening of the audio-diaries he kept during his time in the Cabinet), that he viewed the Arab television station as a legitimate target.

Asked whether he was not worried that this would be “outside the rules of engagement”, Blunkett said: “There wasn’t a worry from me because I believed that this was a war and in a war you wouldn’t allow the broadcast to continue taking place”.

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