Dubai: The leading Saudi-owned entertainment group of MBC is launching in mid-February a new channel dedicated to Iraqi issues and culture.

The country has reeled under war and conflict for more than four decades.

“The channel will allow non-Iraqi audiences a glimpse into the great civilisations in the Mesopotamia,” Mazen Hayek MBC group’s official spokesperson told Gulf News.

The channel has adopted the motto: “with you, our gathering is completed”.

“We believe it is time to launch an entertainment channel for Iraqis that offers constructive and high quality entertainment for all members of the family and for all Iraqis across the spectrum,” said Hayek.

Iraq has plunged in a sectarian conflict in the past two decades, and many political groups already have their own media outlets to express their views and positions.

“In MBC we don’t adopt such a vision, and our view is that entertainment brings people together rather than dividing them. Entertainment should be for everybody regardless of their political, religious and sectarian backgrounds,” said Hayek.

Many citizens are welcoming the channel, according to some Iraqis who spoke with Gulf News.

The vast majority of the productions and programmes of MBC Iraq is expected to have Iraqi faces and produced by Iraqi talent, said Hayek.

“The channel is sharply focused and sharply targeted to Iraq, yet it could be of an interest to a wider audience,” he said.

With a population of over 38 million people, Iraq is among the most Arab populous countries, and according to Hayek the Iraqi audience is “hungry” for high quality and well-produced entertainment productions.

MBC, or the Middle East Broadcasting Center is the biggest entertainment group in the Arab region.

It provides multiple channels of information, interaction and entertainment.

It was launched in London in 1991, and later moved to Dubai.

More local channels planned

The new channel to Iraq is part of a 5-year plan of the group to expand and Hayek said there will be more “new local” channels in other countries of the group in 2019.

In 2012, it launched MBC Masr, or MBC Egypt.

The official launch of the channel would be the evening of February 17, 2019.

Two days prior, the channel will air two specials for the Iraqi audience: a broadcast on February 15 of events from “Winter at Tantora’ a Saudi cultural festival featuring a number of Iraqi singing stars including Kadhim Al Saher and Ilham Al Madfai.

The next day, the launch of the sixth season of “Arabs Got Talent” will be aired.