Ex-trucking boss to launch NGO TV

A former trucking company boss has wound up his organisation to start a Sky TV channel providing free 24-hour coverage for charities.

Shahbaz Sarwar, former owner of truck fleet Arabian Sights, decided to launch NGO TV after volunteering to send vehicles from the UK to help victims of the earthquakes in Pakistan.

"Charities get coverage only when there is a disaster," he said. "The work they do all year round doesn't get a lot of exposure - we want to complete the picture by highlighting charities' projects and the difficulties they face."

Sarwar is investing his own money in NGO TV, which he plans to launch by next June. Other investors include Robert and Anneliese Orr, as well as another silent partner. The channel will work with UK charities to produce 90-minute documentaries. Sponsorship will cover production costs.

He hopes to sign a deal with Sky by the end of November and also plans to launch an internet TV channel. The internet station will broadcast the same content with additional background information and links to charity websites.

The service could cover similar ground to the Community Channel. Peter Weil, director of production and digital media at Community Channel and Media Trust Productions, said: "Any new exposure for the charitable sector within the broadcast world is a positive addition."

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