Tue 01 Mar 2011 12:21 PM
Khadija Ben Ghanna

Khadija Ben Ghanna

Industry: Media

Company: Al Jazeera

Designation: TV presenter

Country: Algeria (Qatar)

Occupation: TV presenter

Khadija Ben Ghanna is an Algerian television presenter with
Al Jazeera in Doha. She has become one of the most familiar faces on Middle
East television as Al Jazeera becomes a crucial link between anti-government
protesters everywhere from Tunisia to Yemen, and those in the outside world.
Her influence in Arab media is made even more remarkable by the fact that she
is a woman – and one of the first Arab women to rise to such a height of
notoriety on a regional network. Her defining moment as a journalist – and as a
public face of the women of Islam – came when she decided to put on her hijab,
on air, just one day before the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Overnight her cropped,
modern hair cut and trendy Western style blazers gave way to a salmon colored
veil, sparking a mix of public emotions and an outpouring of polarized viewer
opinion to the channel’s headquarters. At the time, Ben Ghanna said she managed
to "defeat the devil" after several years in which she debated going
public wearing her veil. "The board of directors' view was that it was a
personal matter that would only be evaluated on a professional basis," she
told the BBC. Though screen tests had been held with Ben Ghanna wearing the
hijab, she hesitated over wearing it on screen. Ben Ghanna has said that the
decisive moment for her came after a one-on-one interview with Egyptian Islamic
preacher Omar Abdul Kafi, who appeared on her programme, “Sharia and Life.”
After graduation from the Department of Radio and Television at the University
of Algeria’s Institute of Media, Ben Ghanna joined the CFJ Institute in Paris.
She then worked as a news presenter with Algerian Radio, Algerian TV and Swiss
International Radio. She was then asked to join the founding team at Al