CNN International today announced Rima Maktabi as the new host of its popular ‘Inside the Middle East’ program and a key addition to CNN’s roster of anchor/correspondents covering the Middle East.
The appointment of Lebanon-born Maktabi, one of the Middle East's most dynamic and well known prime time presenting talents, signals CNN's deepening commitment to the region and continued investment in its Abu Dhabi production hub.
The hiring of Maktabi - a prime time news anchor on Arabic news channel Al Arabiya who brings with her a wealth of experience in the region - follows the recent launch of CNN Abu Dhabi, the debut of the nightly primetime show ‘Prism’, and the decision to fully localise the production staffs of the high profile ' Inside the Middle East ' and ’CNN Marketplace Middle East' shows.
The expanded CNN output is further bolstered by an extensive regional newsgathering infrastructure which today includes bureaux in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Islamabad, Jerusalem and Kabul.
In a unique collaboration with Al Arabiya - for a two month period Maktabi will continue to present her Arabic prime time news show while filming throughout the region for CNN's ' Inside the Middle East ' .
Maktabi’s first appearance on CNN will be on the April 5th edition of ' Inside the Middle East ', ahead of joining CNN full time in June.
"CNN is delighted to announce the addition of Rima Maktabi to its line-up of Middle East based on-air talent as host of 'Inside the Middle East '. She is a strong talent with an impressive track record and we're pleased that this flexible partnership with Al Arabiya will allow our international viewers to get to know Rima much better as she becomes an integral part of our reporting from the region," said Tony Maddox, EVP and Managing Director, CNN International.
"CNN's appointment of Rima Maktabi is yet another acknowledgement by a highly-reputed global Newsmaker of the professional standards of Al Arabiya," said Abdul Rahman Alrashed, General Manager of Dubai-based Al Arabiya News Channel. "The fact that Rima Maktabi will first appear simultaneously on both CNN and Al Arabiya also gives this joint arrangement a greater corporate meaning and provides various audiences with tremendous added-value and synergies," Alrashed concluded.
In addition to hosting 'Inside the Middle East ‘, Rima also joins CNN's regionally based Stan Grant, Paula Hancocks and Ben Wedeman as a roving anchor/correspondent, reporting as and where the network's newsgathering needs require.
About Rima Maktabi
Rima Maktabi joined Al-Arabiya as a prime time news anchor and producer in 2005. Since then, she has covered notable regional stories such as the Iranian and Lebanese elections, the Palestinian Camp War in Nahr el Bared, the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict and the Arab summits in Doha and KSA. Rima has also covered international stories such as the World Economic Forum in Davos and the U.S. Presidential Elections for Al-Arabiya. Her journalism credentials also include time as a reporter for Annahar newspaper and news and entertainment reporting/presenting roles at Future TV. She holds an MA in International Affairs and a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University of Beirut.
About 'Inside the Middle East'
'Inside The Middle East ' is CNN International’s flagship feature show for the region. Long one of the network’s most high profile and well received shows, it refreshed its concept last autumn with new interactive elements, a greater online presence, new titles, graphics and music.
Segments introduced into the new format include Your IME Diary a round-up of the region’s festival season including cultural, sports and business events, on TV and online, populated by viewer clips, stills and comments from key events around the world; My Middle East which takes viewers on a unique journey into the heart and soul of one of the region’s greatest cities through the eyes of regional icons from the world of film, music, fashion, business and politics to reveal the hidden treasures within their chosen city; and The Campus Forum engages university students from across the region to discuss the issues affecting today’s youth.