Latest NewsOMNI launches Filipino, Arabic news editions supported by 25 new staff

OMNI launches Filipino, Arabic news editions supported by 25 new staff

OMNI Television launches new Filipino and Arabic newscasts today, supported by 25 new editorial, digital and videojournalist positions.

The daily, 30-minute OMNI News: Arabic Edition and OMNI News: Filipino Edition will feature local, national, and international news, and are being produced in-house at OMNI’s studios in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Edmonton.

Joining the Rogers Sports & Media channel’s broadcasts in Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian and Punjabi, the network now produces third-language news in six languages. OMNI News: Arabic Edition will air at 5 p.m. local/6 p.m. CT with OMNI News: Filipino Edition airing at 11 p.m. local/12 midnight CT. 

“Our new team of Filipino and Arabic-speaking journalists are diverse and keen to produce stories that are reflective of their communities while bridging cultural and generational gaps as well as shedding light on underreported topics and issues,” said Manuel Fonseca, Director of OMNI Television, in a release. “OMNI has proudly served multilingual Canadians for 30 years in more than 40 languages, and today’s expansion of our national news service is an exciting milestone as we continue to deliver vital news and information that is relevant and meaningful.”

The OMNI News: Arabic Edition team includes:

Juhayna Helmy. Producer, With a Master of Arts in Digital Innovation in Journalism from Concordia University, Helmy joins OMNI with experience as a freelance writer at multiple international publications.

Mai Mazloum

Mai Mazloum, Reporter. Born and raised in Syria, Mazloum is an award-winning storyteller who joins OMNI from the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), where she served as a news reporter and producer for 10 years. During her tenure at MBC, Mazloum covered social justice issues which garnered national attention and influenced legislative changes by the federal government.

Mona Awwad, Reporter. With a Master of Public Policy & International Affairs from York University, Awwad has more than 10 years of experience in political and social research, policy analysis, and specialized support for immigrants and refugees in both Canada and the Middle East. She also spent four years as a reporter with the Star Weekly in Jordan.

Reham Al Azem, Video Journalist. Al Azem is a graduate of Damascus University in Syria and Concordia University, where she studied Law and Journalism, respectively. Al Azem served as a lawyer at Al Jazzar Law Firm and provided legal counsel to victims of the Syrian war.

Sara Chahrour, Video Journalist. Chahrour is a graduate of Concordia University, where she studied Journalism and Human Relations. Her previous experience includes co-hosting a weekly show in Arabic on social media trends in the Middle East on CHOU 1450 AM. 

Wala Amara, Video Journalist. Amara has previous experience as an intern with CBC, The Link newspaper, Hoops on the Rise, and FOX Sports. Most recently, Amara served as a freelance journalist covering a wide range of subjects related to ethnic minorities, in multiple languages. 

Wasim Zaitoun, Reporter. A 2020 Seneca College Multiplatform Journalism graduate, Zaitoun joins OMNI following an internship with CBC Toronto. 


OMNI News: Filipino Edition team:

Andy Aquino, Reporter. Aquino joined OMNI in 2019 as the host of Blue Jays: Pinoy Edition, in Tagalog. Aquino is passionate about connecting with the Filipino-Canadian community and regularly volunteers at the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture and Carlos Bulosan Theatre.

Arvin Joaquin

Arvin Joaquin, Video Journalist. Joaquin is an award-winning journalist and editor with experience as an associate editor at Xtra Magazine; and associate producer at Global News. His work has appeared in The Huffington Post, CTV News, TVO, CBC, and others. Joaquin studied at Carleton University where he achieved a Master’s Degree in Journalism. 

Marie Pacheco, Producer. Pacheco is an experienced video journalist, most recently having worked for The Filipino Channel (TFC). Prior to that, she was a reporter and anchor with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and their cable channel ANC in the Philippines, prior to moving to Canada with her family.

Paula Saraza, Reporter. Born and raised in the Philippines, Saraza moved to Canada in 2016 with her family. She completed her Journalism Degree at Seneca College in Toronto and previously worked as a Production Assistant and reporter for Filipino TV.

Ron Gagalac, Reporter. Gagalac joins OMNI from ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation where he served as a multimedia news correspondent. Gagalac holds a Master of Communications from Ateneo De Manila University in Quezon City and is currently studying at Seneca College in Toronto.

Rhea Santos, Videojournalist. Born and raised in the Philippines, Santos has 19 years of experience in the television broadcast news industry. Santos joins OMNI from GMA Network’s morning show Unang Hirit, where she was the longest-serving female morning newscaster in the history of Philippine television.

Theresa Barrera

Theresa Barrera, Videojournalist. Barrera has extensive media experience, having worked as a reporter and journalist at CTV News, Pulse FM, and Life FM and as an on-air host at Corus, Jim Pattison, Crossroads, and Touch Canada Broadcasting stations in B.C. and Alberta. 

Theresa Redula, Reporter. Born and raised in the Philippines, Redula is a recent journalism graduate of Niagara College. Redula joins OMNI with reporting experience from her stint at Niagara News.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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