|Type||Satellite television network|
|Owner||Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
(Al Jazeera Media Network)
|Key people||Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairman
Sheikh Ahmad bin Jassim al-Thani,
|Aljazeera Satellite Channel|
|Launched||1 November 1996|
|Owned by||Al Jazeera|
|Digital||45 (UHF) DVB-T2|
|Telkom-1||10902 V - 29900 - 3/4|
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 831|
|Mozaic TV+ (Qatar)||100|
Al Jazeera (Arabic: الجزيرة al-ǧazīrah IPA: [æl dʒæˈziːrɐ], literally "The Island", abbreviating "The [Arabian] Peninsula"), also known as Aljazeera and JSC (Jazeera Satellite Channel), is a broadcaster owned by the privately held Al Jazeera Media Network and headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. Al Jazeera is accessible in several world regions. Until 2011, Al Jazeera was owned by the government of Qatar. Before and after the change, it has emphasized its editorial independence from the government of Qatar, though this has been disputed.
The original Al Jazeera channel's willingness to broadcast dissenting views, for example on call-in shows, created controversies in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The station gained worldwide attention following the outbreak of war in Afghanistan, when it was the only channel to cover the war live, from its office there.
In the 2000s, the network was praised by the Index on Censorship for circumventing censorship and contributing to the free exchange of information in the Arab world, and by the Webby Awards, who nominated it as one of the five best news web sites, along with BBC News, National Geographic and The Smoking Gun. It was also voted by brandchannel.com readers as the fifth most influential global brand behind Apple, Google, Ikea and Starbucks. In 2011, Salon.com said Al Jazeera's coverage of the 2011 Egyptian protests was superior to that of the American news media, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also opined that the network's news coverage was more informative, and less opinion-driven than American journalism.
In Arabic, al-ǧazīrah literally means "the island". However, it refers here to the Arabian Peninsula, which is شبه الجزيرة العربية šibh al-ğazīrah al-ʿarabiyyah, abbreviated to الجزيرة العربية al-ğazīrah al-ʿarabiyyah.
Al Jazeera Satellite Channel was launched on 1 November 1996 following the closure of the BBC's Arabic language television station, a joint venture with Orbit Communications Company, owned by Saudi King Fahd's cousin, Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud. The BBC channel had closed after a year and a half when the Saudi government attempted to kill a documentary on executions under sharia law.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, provided a loan of QAR 500 million ($137 million) to sustain Al Jazeera through its first five years, as Hugh Miles detailed in his book Al Jazeera: The Inside Story of the Arab News Channel That Is Challenging the West. Shares were held by private investors as well as the Qatar government.
Al Jazeera's first day on the air was 1 November 1996. It offered 6-hours of programming per day; this would increase to 12-hours by the end of 1997. It was broadcast to the immediate neighborhood as a terrestrial signal, and on cable, as well as through satellites (which was also free to users in the Arab world). Ironically Qatar, like many other Arab countries, barred private individuals from having satellite dishes until 2001.
At the time of Al Jazeera's launch, Arabsat was the only satellite broadcasting to the Middle East, and for the first year could only offer Al Jazeera a weak C-band transponder that needed a large satellite dish for reception. A more powerful KU-band transponder became available as a peace-offering after its user, Canal France International, accidentally beamed 30 minutes of pornography into ultraconservative Saudi Arabia.
Al Jazeera was not the first such broadcaster in the Middle East; a number had appeared since the Arabsat satellite, a Saudi Arabia-based venture of 21 Arab governments, took orbit in 1985. The unfolding of Operation Desert Storm on CNN International underscored the power of live television in current events. While other local broadcasters in the region would assiduously avoid material embarrassing to their home governments (Qatar had its own official TV station as well), Al Jazeera was pitched as an impartial news source and platform for discussing issues relating to the Arab world.
In presenting "The opinion and the other opinion" (the station's motto), it did not take long for Al Jazeera to shock local viewers by presenting Israelis speaking Hebrew on Arab TV for the first time. Lively and far-ranging talk shows, particularly a popular, confrontational one called The Opposite Direction, were a constant source of controversy regarding issues of morality and religion. This prompted a torrent of criticism from the conservative voices among the region's press. It also led to official complaints and censures from neighboring governments. Some jammed Al Jazeera's terrestrial broadcast or expelled its correspondents. In 1999, the Algerian government reportedly cut power to several major cities in order to censor one broadcast. There were also commercial repercussions; Saudi Arabia reportedly pressured advertisers to avoid the channel, to great effect. Al Jazeera was also becoming a favorite sounding board for militant groups such as Hamas and Chechen separatists.
Al Jazeera was the only international news network to have correspondents in Iraq during the Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign in 1998. In a precursor of a pattern to follow, its exclusive video clips were highly prized by Western media.
Around the clock
1 January 1999 was Al Jazeera's first day of 24-hour broadcasting. Employment had more than tripled in one year to 500 employees, and the agency had bureaus at a dozen sites as far as EU and Russia. Its annual budget was estimated at about $25 million at the time.
However controversial, Al Jazeera was rapidly becoming one of the most influential news agencies in the region. Eager for news beyond the official versions of events, Arabs became dedicated viewers. A 2000 estimate pegged nightly viewership at 35 million, ranking Al Jazeera first in the Arab world, over the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) and London's Arab News Network (ANN). There were about 70 satellite or terrestrial channels being broadcast to the Middle East, most of them in Arabic. Al Jazeera launched a free Arabic language web site in January 2001. In addition, the TV feed was soon available in United Kingdom for the first time via British Sky Broadcasting.
War in Afghanistan
Al Jazeera came to the attention of many in the West during the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks on the United States. It aired videos it received from Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, deeming new footage of the world's most wanted fugitives to be newsworthy. Some criticized the network for giving a voice to terrorists. Al Jazeera's Washington, D.C. bureau chief, Hafez al-Mirazi compared the situation to that of the Unabomber's messages in The New York Times. The network said it had been given the tapes because it had a large Arab audience.
Many other TV networks were eager to acquire the same footage. CNN International had exclusive rights to it for six hours before other networks could broadcast, a provision that was broken by the others on at least one controversial occasion. Prime Minister Tony Blair soon appeared on an Al Jazeera talk show on 14 November 2001 to state Britain's case for pursuing the Taliban into Afghanistan.
Al Jazeera's prominence rose during the war in Afghanistan because it had opened a bureau in Kabul before the war began. This gave it better access for videotaping events than other networks, which bought Al Jazeera's footage, sometimes for as much as $250,000.
The network remained dependent on government support in 2002, with a budget of $40 million and ad revenues of about $8 million. It also took in fees for sharing its news feed with other networks. It had an estimated 45 million viewers around the world. Al Jazeera soon had to contend with a new rival, Al Arabiya, an offshoot of the Middle East Broadcasting Center, which was set up in nearby Dubai with Saudi financial backing.
2003 Iraq War
Before and during the United States-led invasion of Iraq, where Al Jazeera had a presence since 1997, the network's facilities and footage were again highly sought by international networks. The channel and its web site also were seeing unprecedented attention from viewers looking for alternatives to embedded reporting and military press conferences.
Al Jazeera moved its sports coverage to a new, separate channel in 1 November 2003, allowing for more news and public affairs programming on the original channel. An English language web site had launched earlier in the year. The channel had about 1,300 to 1,400 employees, its newsroom editor told The New York Times. There were 23 bureaus around the world and 70 foreign correspondents, with 450 journalists in all.
On 1 April 2003, a United States plane fired on Al Jazeera's Baghdad bureau, killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub. The attack was called a mistake, however Qatar had supplied the US with a precise map of the location of the bureau in order to spare it from attack.
Afshin Rattansi became the channel's first English-language broadcast journalist after he left the BBC Today Programme, after the death of UK Government Scientist, David Kelly.
The original Al Jazeera channel was started in 1 November 1996 by an emiri decree with a loan of 500 million Qatari riyals (US$137 million) from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa. By its funding through loans or grants rather than direct government subsidies, the channel claims to maintain independent editorial policy. The channel began broadcasting in late 1996, with many staff joining from the BBC World Service's Saudi-co-owned Arabic language TV station, which had shut down in 1 April 1996 after two years of operation because of censorship demands by the Saudi Arabian government. The Al Jazeera logo is a decorative representation of the network's name written using Arabic calligraphy. It was selected by the station's founder, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, as the winning entry in a design competition.
Al Jazeera restructured its operations to form a Network that contains all their different channels. Wadah Khanfar, then the managing director of the Arabic Channel, was appointed as the Director General of the Al Jazeera Network. He also acted as the Managing Director of the Arabic channel. Khanfar resigned on 20 September 2011 proclaiming that he had achieved his original goals, and that 8 years was enough time for any leader of an organization, in an interview aired on Aljazeera English.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic website is Mustafa Soug who replaced Ahmed Sheikh. It has more than 100 editorial staff. The managing director of Al Jazeera English is Al Anstey. The Editor-in-Chief of the English-language site is Mohamed Nanabhay who has run the site since 2009. Previous editors have included Beat Witschi and Russell Merryman.
Prominent on-air personalities include Faisal al-Qassem, host of the talk show The Opposite Direction, Ahmed Mansour, host of the show Without Borders (bi-la Hudud) and Sami Haddad.
Its former Iran and Beirut Bureau Chief was Ghassan bin Jiddo. He became an influential figure on Al Jazeera with his program Hiwar Maftuh, one of the most frequently watched programs. He also interviewed Nasrallah in 2007 and produced a documentary about Hezbollah. Some suggested that he would even replace Wadah Khanfar. However, bin Jiddo resigned from his job after political disagreements with the station.
Many governments in the Middle East deploy state-run media or government censorship to impact local media coverage and public opinion, leading to international objections regarding press freedom and biased media coverage. Some scholars and commentators use the notion of contextual objectivity, which highlights the tension between objectivity and audience appeal, to describe the station's controversial yet popular news approach.
Increasingly, Al Jazeera's exclusive interviews and other footage are being rebroadcast in American, British, and other western media outlets such as CNN and the BBC. In January 2003, the BBC announced that it had signed an agreement with Al Jazeera for sharing facilities and information, including news footage.
Al Jazeera's availability (via satellite) throughout the Middle East changed the television landscape of the region. Prior to the arrival of Al Jazeera, many Middle Eastern citizens were unable to watch TV channels other than state-controlled national TV stations. Al Jazeera introduced a level of freedom of speech on TV that was previously unheard of in many of these countries. Al Jazeera presented controversial views regarding the governments of many Arab states in the Persian Gulf area, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar; it also presented controversial views about Syria's relationship with Lebanon, and the Egyptian judiciary. Critics accused Al Jazeera of sensationalism in order to increase its audience share. Al Jazeera's broadcasts have sometimes resulted in drastic action: for example, when, on 27 January 1999, critics of the Algerian government appeared on the channel's live program El-Itidjah el-Mouakass ("The Opposite Direction"), the Algerian government cut the electricity supply to large parts of the capital Algiers (and allegedly also to large parts of the country), to prevent the program from being seen.
At that time, Al Jazeera was not yet generally known in the Western world, but where it was known, opinion was often favourable and Al Jazeera claimed to be the only politically independent television station in the Middle East. However, it was not until late 2001 that Al Jazeera achieved worldwide recognition, when it broadcast video statements by al-Qaeda leaders.
Some observers have argued that Al Jazeera has formidable authority as an opinion-maker. Noah Bonsey and Jeb Koogler, for example, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, argue that the way in which the station covers any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could well determine whether or not that deal is actually accepted by the Palestinian public.
The channel's tremendous popularity has also, for better or worse, made it a shaper of public opinion. Its coverage often determines what becomes a story and what does not, as well as how Arab viewers think about issues. Whether in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, or Syria, the stories highlighted and the criticisms aired by guests on Al Jazeera's news programs have often significantly affected the course of events in the region.
In Palestine, the station's influence is particularly strong. Recent polling indicates that in the West Bank and Gaza, Al Jazeera is the primary news source for an astounding 53.4 percent of Palestinian viewers. The second and third most watched channels, Palestine TV and Al Arabiya, poll a distant 12.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The result of Al Jazeera's market dominance is that it has itself become a mover and shaker in Palestinian politics, helping to craft public perceptions and influence the debate. This has obvious implications for the peace process: how Al Jazeera covers the deliberations and the outcome of any negotiated agreement with Israel will fundamentally shape how it is viewed—and, more importantly, whether it is accepted—by the Palestinian public.
Al Jazeera's broad availability in the Arab world "operat[ing] with less constraint than almost any other Arab outlet, and remain[ing] the most popular channel in the region", has been perceived as playing a part in the Arab Spring, including the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. The New York Times stated in January 2011: "The protests rocking the Arab world this week have one thread uniting them: Al Jazeera, ... whose aggressive coverage has helped propel insurgent emotions from one capital to the next". The newspaper quoted Marc Lynch, a professor of Middle East Studies at George Washington University: "They did not cause these events, but it's almost impossible to imagine all this happening without Al Jazeera".
Expansion outside the Middle East
Al Jazeera English
On 4 July 2005 Al Jazeera officially announced plans to launch a new English-language satellite service to be called Al Jazeera International. The new channel started at 12h GMT on 15 November 2006 under the name Al Jazeera English and has broadcast centers in Doha (next to the original Al Jazeera headquarters and broadcast center), London, Kuala Lumpur and Washington D.C. The channel is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week news channel, with 12 hours broadcast from Doha, and four hours each from London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C.
Al Jazeera launched an English language channel, originally called Al Jazeera International, in 2006. Among its staff were journalists hired from ABC's Nightline and other top news outfits. Josh Rushing, a former media handler for CENTCOM during the Iraq war, agreed to provide commentary; David Frost was also on board. In an interesting technical feat, the broadcast of the new operation was handed off between bases in Doha, London, Washington, D.C., and Kuala Lumpur on a daily cycle.
The new English language venture faced considerable regulatory and commercial hurdles in the North America market for its perceived sympathy with extremist causes. At the same time, others felt Al Jazeera's competitive advantage lay in programming in the Arabic language. There were hundreds of millions of potential viewers among the non-Arabic language speaking Muslims in Europe and Asia, however, and many others who might be interested in seeing news from the Middle East read by local voices. If the venture panned out, it would extend the influence of Al Jazeera, and tiny Qatar, beyond even what had been achieved in the station's first decade. In an interesting twist of fate, the BBC World Service was preparing to launch its own Arabic language station in 2007.
Al Jazeera America
On 2 January 2013, Al Jazeera Media Network announced that it purchased Current TV in the United States and would be launching an American news channel. Originally 60% of the channel's programming would be produced in America while 40% would be from Al Jazeera English, that has since changed to almost all the content being U.S. originated.
In a news release, Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said, "By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the U.S., as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America ... We look forward to working together with our new cable and satellite partners to serve our new audiences across the U.S." The new channel is said to be providing mainly domestic but also international news for an American audience. Al Jazeera plans to open new bureaus across the United States and increase the network's staff in the United States to over 800 employees.
Though Current TV currently has large distribution throughout the United States on cable and satellite TV, it averages only 28,000 viewer at any time. The acquisition of Current TV by Al Jazeera allowed Time Warner Cable to drop the network due to its low ratings, but released a statement saying that they would consider carrying the channel after they evaluated whether it made sense for their customers.
beIN Sport is a global network of sports channels jointly owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al Jazeera Media Network and American media company Turner Broadcasting System, a subsidiary of Time Warner. It currently operates three channels in France – beIN Sport 1, beIN Sport 2 and beIN Sport MAX – and launched two channels in the United States (English and Spanish) in August 2012. The channel also holds Canadian broadcast rights to several sports properties despite not yet having authorization to broadcast in Canada.
In France, beIN Sport holds the rights to broadcast major association football tournaments on French television, including Ligue 1, Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League and the European Football Championships. In the United States and Canada, beIN Sport holds the rights to broadcast La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Copa del Rey, South American World Cup Qualifier and English Championship matches, in addition to Barca TV.
As of 2007, the Arabic Al Jazeera channel rivals the BBC in worldwide audiences with an estimated 40 to 50 million viewers. Al Jazeera English has an estimated reach of around 100 million households.
On 26 November 2009, Al Jazeera English received approval from the CRTC, which enables Al Jazeera English to broadcast via satellite in Canada.
The original Al Jazeera channel is available worldwide through various satellite and cable systems.
In the United States, Al Jazeera English is available through free to air DVB-S on the Galaxy 19 (and Galaxy 23 C-band) satellites and, in the Washington, DC area, it is broadcast over the air by WNVC on digital channel 30-5, and on digital channel 48.2 in the New York metro area. However, Al Jazeera English is unavailable to cable viewers in the US, with the exception of those in Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; New York City(WRNN rebroadcast), Washington State and Washington, D.C (a rebroadcast of WNVC's feed). Many analysts consider this to be effectively a "black out". An Al Jazeera spokesperson confirmed a scheduled meeting with the large cable company Comcast, but as yet there has been no indication of the news network being made available to Comcast subscribers.
In contrast, in the United Kingdom, Al Jazeera English is available on the Sky and Freesat satellite platforms, as well as the standard terrestrial service (branded Freeview), thus making it available to the vast majority of UK households.
Al Jazeera can also be freely viewed with a DVB-S receiver in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East as it is broadcast on the Astra 1M, Eutelsat Hot Bird 13A, Eutelsat 10A, Badr 4, Turksat 2A, Thor 6, Nilesat 102, Hispasat 1C and Eutelsat 28A satellites. The Optus C1 satellite in Australia carries the channel for free and from July 2012 is available at no extra charge to all subscribers to Australia's Foxtel pay-TV service.
For availability info of the Al Jazeera network's other TV channels, see their respective articles. Segments of Al Jazeera English are uploaded to YouTube.
It is also possible to watch Al Jazeera English over the internet from their official website. The low-resolution version is available free of charge, while the high-resolution version is available under subscription fees through partner sites. In some countries that do not regularly offer Al Jazeera English through satellite or cable, the availability of internet video streaming receiver boxes, like those sold by Roku in the United States, offer the low-resolution stream without the use of a computer.
Al Jazeera is available in Canada on Bell Express Vu Channel 516, as part of the package "International News I." Al Jazeera is available on Rogers Cable individually. Al Jazeera is also available on Shaw Cable TV Channel 513, as part of the package "Multicultural" Free preview until 8 March 2011
On 7 December 2010, Al Jazeera said its English language service has got a downlink license to broadcast in India. Satellite and cable companies would therefore be allowed to broadcast Al Jazeera in the country. The broadcaster will be launched soon on Dish TV, and is considering a Hindi-language channel.
In May 2012, Al Jazeera English became available on Verizon FiOS in parts of the country, including New York, on channel 481. 
On the Web
Al Jazeera's web-based service is accessible subscription-free throughout the world. The station launched an English-language edition of its online content in March 2003. This English language website was relaunched on 15 November 2006, along with the launch of Al Jazeera English. The English and Arabic sections are editorially distinct, with their own selection of news and comment. Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English are streamed live on the official site, as well as on YouTube. On 13 April 2009, Al Jazeera launched condensed versions of its English and Arabic sites for mobile device users.
The Arabic version of the site was brought offline for about 10 hours by an FBI raid on its ISP, InfoCom Corporation, on 5 September 2001. InfoCom was later convicted of exporting to Syria and Gaddafi-ruled Libya, of knowingly being invested in by a Hamas member (both of which are illegal in the United States), and of underpaying customs duties.
On 13 January 2009, Al Jazeera released some of its broadcast quality footage from Gaza under a Creative Commons license. Contrary to business "All Rights Reserved" standards, the license invites third parties, including rival broadcasters, to reuse and remix the footage, so long as Al Jazeera is credited. The videos are hosted on blip.tv, which allows easy downloading and integration with Miro.
Al Jazeera also offers over 2,000 Creative Commons-licensed still photos at their Flickr account.
Al Jazeera accepts user-submitted photos and videos about news events through a Your Media page, and this content may be featured on the website or in broadcasts.
Future projects in other languages include Al Jazeera Urdu, an Urdu language channel to cater mainly to Pakistanis and possibly some Indians. A Kiswahili service called Al Jazeera Kiswahili was to be based in Nairobi and broadcast in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. However, those plans were cancelled due to budget constraints.
Al Jazeera has been preparing to launch a Turkish language news channel called Al Jazeera Türk. On 10 February, Al Jazeera acquired Turkey's Cine 5 television channel. The channel also has plans to launch a Spanish-language news network to cater mainly to Spain and Hispanic Latin America, like the Iranian cable TV network HispanTV. Al Jazeera has also been reported to be planning to launch an international newspaper. Al Jazeera Arabic began using a chroma key studio on 13 September 2009. Similar to Sky News, Al Jazeera broadcast from that studio while the channel's main newsroom was given a new look. The channel relaunched, with new graphics and music along with a new studio, on 1 November 2009, the 13th birthday of the channel.
Attacks on and censorship of Al Jazeera
On 27 January 1999, several Algerian cities lost power simultaneously, reportedly to keep residents from watching a program in which Algerian dissidents implicated the Algerian military in a series of massacres.
On 4 July 2004, the Algerian government froze the activities of Al Jazeera's Algerian correspondent. The official reason given was that a reorganization of the work of foreign correspondents was in progress. The international pressure group Reporters Without Borders says, however, that the measure was really taken in reprisal for a broadcast the previous week of another Al-Itijah al-Mouakiss debate on the political situation in Algeria.
In May 2000, Bahrain banned Al Jazeera broadcast due to channel's comments about Bahrain's municipal elections, labelling it as "serving Zionism".
The Iraqi interim government closed the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad in August 2004. Then Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi accused the channel of "inciting hatred" in the country. At the end of April 2013, the Iraqi government led by Nouri Al Maliki once again ordered to stop Al Jazeera broadcasting due to the alleged role of the channel in "encouraging the sectarian unrest".
On 13 March 2008, Israel imposed sanctions on Al Jazeera, accusing it of slanted coverage favoring Hamas. Deputy foreign minister Majalli Wahabi said that Israel would deny entry visas to Al Jazeera employees, and that Israeli officials would not be available for interviews with the network. According to Wahabi, "We have seen that Al Jazeera has become a part of Hamas ... taking sides and cooperating with people who are enemies of the State of Israel. The moment a station like Al Jazeera gives unreliable reports, represents only one side, and doesn't present the positions of the other side, why should we cooperate"? Wahabi said that the Israeli Foreign Ministry would send letters of complaint to the government of Qatar and Al Jazeera.
In February 2009, Israel again imposed sanctions on Al Jazeera after Qatar closed the Israeli trade office in Doha in protest to the Gaza War. Initially, Israel contemplated declaring Al Jazeera a hostile entity and shutting down its Israel offices, but after a legal review, the Israeli government decided instead to impose limited measures to restrict Al Jazeera's activities in the country. All Al Jazeera employees would not have their visas renewed, and the Israeli government would issue no new visas. Al Jazeera staff would also not be allowed to attend government briefings and reduced access to government and military offices or interview Knesset members. The station would only be allowed access to three official spokespersons: The Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
In August 2011, Samer Allawi, Al Jazeera's Afghanistan bureau chief, was arrested by Israeli authorities on charges of being a member of Hamas. Walied Al-Omary, Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said the military court accused Allawi of making contact with members of Hamas's armed wing. A co-leader of The Committee to Protect Journalists said "Israel must clarify why it continues to hold Samer Allawi."
On 15 July 2009, the Palestinian National Authority closed down Al Jazeera's offices in the West Bank, apparently in response to claims made on the channel by Farouk Kaddoumi that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had been involved in the death of Yasser Arafat. In a statement announcing the decision, the Palestinian Information Ministry said the station's coverage was "unbalanced" and accused it of incitement against the PLO and the PA.
On 19 July 2009, President Abbas rescinded the ban and allowed Al Jazeera to resume operations.
According to Glenn Greenwald, Al Jazeera is "constantly demonized in the American media." When Al Jazeera reported events featuring very graphic footage from inside Iraq, Al Jazeera was described as anti-American and as inciting violence because it reported on issues concerning national security.
On Monday, 24 March 2003, two Al Jazeera reporters covering the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) had their credentials revoked. The NYSE banned Al Jazeera (as well as several other news organizations whose identities were not revealed) from its trading floor indefinitely. NYSE spokesman Ray Pellechia claimed "security reasons" and that the exchange had decided to give access only to networks that focus "on responsible business coverage". He denied the revocation has anything to do with the network's Iraq war coverage. However, Robert Zito, the exchange's executive vice president for communications, indicated that Al Jazeera's graphic footage broadcast on Sunday, 22 March 2003, led him to oust Al Jazeera. The move was quickly mirrored by NASDAQ stock market officials. The NYSE ban was rescinded a few months later. In addition, Akamai Technologies, a U.S. company whose founder was killed in the 11 September World Trade Center attack, canceled a contract to provide web services for Al Jazeera's English language website.
Death of Tareq Ayyoub
On 8 April 2003, Al Jazeera's office in Baghdad was hit by a missile, killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub and wounding another. Al Jazeera reports that it had mailed coordinates for their office to the U.S. State Department six weeks earlier and that these should have clearly identified their location. Dima Tareq Tahboub, the widow of Tareq Ayyoub, continues as of 2003[update] to denounce her husband's death and has among other things written for The Guardian and participated in a documentary broadcast on Al Jazeera English.
Al Jazeera bombing memo
- Also see O'Connor - Keogh official secrets trial.
On 22 November 2005, the UK tabloid The Daily Mirror published a story claiming that it had obtained a leaked memo from 10 Downing Street saying that former U.S. President George W. Bush had considered bombing Al Jazeera's Doha headquarters in April 2004, when United States Marines were conducting a contentious assault on Fallujah.
During the 2011 Egyptian protests, on 30 January, the Egyptian government ordered the TV channel to close its offices. A day after, on 31 January, Egyptian security forces arrested six Al Jazeera journalists for several hours and seized their camera equipment. There were also reports of disruption in Al Jazeera Mubasher's Broadcast to Egypt.
In May 2012 Chinese authorities refused to renew Al Jazeera correspondent's press credentials and visa, or allow a replacement journalist. Al Jazeera consequently closed its bureau in Beijing.
Immediately after its launch in 2003, the English site was attacked by one or several hackers, who launched denial-of-service attacks, and another hacker who redirected visitors to a site featuring an American flag. Both events were widely reported as Al Jazeera's website having been attacked by "hackers". In November 2003, John William Racine II, also known as 'John Buffo', was sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service and a $1,500 U.S. fine for the online disruption. Racine posed as an Al Jazeera employee to get a password to the network's site, then redirected visitors to a page he created that showed an American flag shaped like a U.S. map and a patriotic motto, court documents said. In June 2003, Racine pleaded guilty to wire fraud and unlawful interception of an electronic communication. As of 2012, the perpetrators of the denial-of-service attacks remain unknown.
Al Jazeera claims that it is editorially independent, though much of its funding comes from the Qatar government. In 2010, United States Department of State internal communications, released by WikiLeaks as part of the 2010 diplomatic cables leak, claim that the Qatar government manipulates Al Jazeera coverage to suit political interests.
In September 2012, The Guardian reported that Al Jazeera's editorial independence came into question when the channel's director of news, Salah Negm, stepped in at the last minute to order that a two minute video covering a UN debate over the Syrian civil war include a speech by the leader of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Staff members protested that the speech was not the most important aspect of the debate, and that it was a repetition of previous calls for Arab intervention.
Criticism and controversy
While Al Jazeera has a large audience in the Middle East, the organization and the original Arabic channel in particular have taken criticism and been involved in several controversies.[dead link]
- Al Jazeera's coverage of the invasion of Iraq was the focus of an award-winning 2004 documentary film, Control Room by Egyptian-American director Jehane Noujaim.
- In July 2003, PBS broadcast a documentary, called Exclusive to al-Jazeera on its program Wide Angle.
- In 2008, Al Jazeera filmed Egypt: A nation in waiting, which documented trends in Egypt's political history and foreshadowed the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
- Another documentary, Al-Jazeera, An Arab Voice for Freedom or Demagoguery? The UNC Tour was filmed two months after the 11 September 2001 Terrorist Attack.
Awards and accolades
- 1999 Prince Claus Award for "Creating Spaces of Freedom", in Amsterdam
- In December 1999, Ibn Rushd (Averoes) Fund for Freedom of Thought in Berlin awarded the "Ibn Rushd Award" for media and journalism for the year to Al Jazeera.
- In March 2003, Al Jazeera was awarded by Index on Censorship for its "courage in circumventing censorship and contributing to the free exchange of information in the Arab world."
- In April 2004, the Webby Awards nominated Al Jazeera as one of the five best news Web sites, along with BBC News, National Geographic, RocketNews and The Smoking Gun. According to Tifanny Schlain, the founder of the Webby Awards, this caused a controversy as [other media organisations] "felt it was a risk-taking site".
- In 2004, Al Jazeera was voted by brandchannel.com readers as the fifth most influential global brand behind Apple Computer, Google, Ikea and Starbucks.
- During the 2011 Egyptian protests, the online magazine Salon.com wrote that "Al Jazeera's Egypt coverage embarrasses U.S. cable news channels.", and WikiLeaks commented on their Twitter feed that "Yes, we may have helped Tunisia, Egypt. But let us not forget the elephant in the room: Al Jazeera + sat dishes".
- On 4 March 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Al Jazeera provided more news coverage than the opinion-driven coverage of American mass media. Most American media outlets declined comment. Michael Clemente of Fox News called the comments "curious", while not directly refuting them. Secretary Clinton's remarks contrast dramatically to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's complaints of bias early in the previous decade. However, Rumsfeld apparently changed his opinion and expressed in 2011 that he was "delighted" by Al Jazeera English.
- In response to Al Jazeera, a group of Saudi investors created Al Arabiya in the first quarter of 2003. Despite (especially initial) skepticism over the station's Saudi funding (cf. History) and a perception of censorship of anti-Saudi content, Al Arabiya has successfully emulated Al Jazeera, garnered a significant audience share, and has also become involved in controversy – Al Arabiya has been severely criticised by the Iraqi and US authorities and has had journalists killed on the job.
- In order to counter a perceived bias of Al Jazeera, the U.S. government in 2004 founded Al Hurra ("the free one"). Al Hurra is forbidden to broadcast to the US under the provisions of the Smith–Mundt Act. A Zogby poll found that 1% of Arab viewers watch Al Hurra as their first choice. while an Ipsos-MENA poll from March–May 2008 showed that Al Hurra was drawing more viewers in Iraq than Al Jazeera. Citing these figures, Alvin Snyder, author and former USIA executive, referred to Al Hurra as a "go to" network in Iraq.
- Another competitor is Al Alam, Established in 2003 by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, it broadcasts continuously. It seeks to address the most challenging issues of the Muslim and Arab world and the Middle East.
- A further competitor is the Rusiya Al-Yaum channel – the first Russian TV news channel broadcasting in Arabic and headquartered in Moscow, Russia. Rusiya Al-Yaum started broadcasting on 4 May 2007. The Channel is established and operated by RIA Novosti, the same news agency that launched Russia Today TV in December 2005 to deliver a Russian perspective on news to English-speaking audiences, and "Rusiya Al-Yaum" is indeed a translation of "Russia Today" into Arabic.
- The BBC launched BBC Arabic Television on 11 March 2008, an Arabic-language news channel in North Africa and the Middle East. This is the second time that the BBC has launched an Arabic language TV channel; as mentioned above, the demise of the original BBC World Service Arabic TV channel had at least contributed to the founding of the original Al Jazeera Arabic TV channel.
- When Euronews started broadcasting its programs in Arabic on 12 July 2008, it entered into competition with Al Jazeera. Arabic is the eighth language in which Euronews is broadcast, after English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
- Since the launch of Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera directly competes with BBC World and CNN International, as do a growing number of other international broadcasters such as France 24, NHK World, and Russia Today.
- Al Jazeera America will be in direct competition with American networks CNN, MSNBC, FOX News Channel and in curtain markets Russia Today.
|Al Jazeera||the original international Arabic-language 24h news channel||1 November 1996||aljazeera.net/channel|
|Al Jazeera Sports||a popular Arabic-language sports channel||2003||aljazeerasport.net|
|Al Jazeera Sports +1||2004|
|Al Jazeera Sports +2||2004|
|Al Jazeera Sports +3||2008|
|Al Jazeera Sports +4||2008|
|Al Jazeera Sports +5||August 2009|
|Al Jazeera Sports +6||August 2009|
|Al Jazeera Sports +7||August 2009|
|Al Jazeera Sports +8||August 2009|
|Al Jazeera Sports HD|
|beIN Sport The Al Jazeera Sports channel in France, United States, and Russia.||2012||http://www.beinsport.fr, http://www.beinsport.tv|
|Al Jazeera Mubasher (a.k.a. Al Jazeera Live)||a live politics and public interest channel (similar to C-SPAN, Houses of the Oireachtas Channel or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences in real time without editing or commentary||2005||mubasher.aljazeera.net|
|Al Jazeera Children's Channel (a.k.a. JCC)||a children's interest channel||2005||jcctv.net|
|Al Jazeera English||a global English-language 24h news channel||2006||aljazeera.com|
|Al Jazeera Documentary Channel||an Arabic language documentary channel||2007||doc.aljazeera.net|
|Al Jazeera Training Center||an Arabic language Training Center||2004||training.aljazeera.net|
|Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr||a version of Al Jazeera Mubasher focused on Egypt||2011||mubasher-misr.aljazeera.net|
|Al Jazeera Balkans||a version of Al Jazeera in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language(s) stationed in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina catering to and broadcasting around the Balkans||2011||balkans.aljazeera.com|
|Al Jazeera Türk||a version of Al Jazeera that will be in the Turkish language(s) stationed in Istanbul catering to and broadcasting around Turkey||2013||aljazeera.com.tr|
|Al Jazeera America||a version of Al Jazeera that will be based in the United States, airing domestic and international news.||2013||america.aljazeera.com|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Al Jazeera|
- Official Al Jazeera websites:
- Official Al Jazeera live streams:
- (Arabic) Watching Al Jazeera Online
- Al Jazeera: demographics, programs, history
- Al Jazeera demographics
- Al Jazeera, Radio Sawa Founders Report on Media in the Middle East, UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations, posted 4 November 2003. Retrieved 26 January 2007
- US-Arab Relations – 4 October 2006 lecture by Hafez Al Mirazi, host of the Al Jazeera (Arabic) talk show "From Washington", at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (RealPlayer video).
- Arabic in Graphic Design: Al Jazeera's Cartouche, an interactive guide to the Arabic calligraphy of the network's logo.
- Unofficial Al Jazeera live streams (during down times):
- Former Al Jazeera director general Waddah Khanfar at London Frontline Club interviewed by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, 18 January 2012