Al Jazeera

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Al Jazeera
Type Satellite television network
Country Qatar
Availability Worldwide
Owner Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani
Key people Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani, Chairman
Wadah Khanfar, Director-General
Ahmed Sheikh, Editor-in-chief
Launch date 1996
Official website aljazeera.net

Al Jazeera (in Arabic: الجزيرة‎ al-Jazi'yra) is an Arabic-language television channel from Doha, Qatar. Al Jazeera means The Island in Arabic. It is named that way because it is the only independent news network in the Middle East. At first it was a satellite TV channel which broadcast in Arabic only. Now there is also a channel in English, a sports channel, a conference channel, a documentary channel and a children's channel.

Channels[change | change source]

Next to its original channel Al Jazeera also has many other channels about specific things.

  • Al Jazeera
the original international Arabic-language 24h news channel started in 1996
an Arabic Sports channel started in 2003
started in 2004
a politics channel (similar to C-SPAN or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences started in 2005
a children's channel started in 2005
a global English 24h news channel started in 2006
an Arabic documentary channel started in 2007

History[change | change source]

The first Al Jazeera channel was created in 1996. This was made possible with 150 million US$ from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa.

In April 1996 the BBC World channel, which operated in Arabic, was shut down. This channel was partly owned by Saudi-Arabia. Many of the journalists from this station started working with Al Jazeera. The channel started broadcasting at the End of 1996.[1] Because Al Jazeera was available in the whole region via satellite, it changed the television landscape of the region. Before that people could only watch channels that were censored by the different states. Al Jazeera brought a new level of freedom of speech in television to the Middle East. Al Jazeera has always broadcasted controversial on many governments in the Middle East, for example Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. It also was critical about Syria's relationship with the Lebanon and of the judiciary in Egypt. For example on January 27, 1999 Al Jazeera had critics of the government of Algeria on their live program El-Itidjah el-Mouakass (Arabic for The Opposite Direction). To stop people from watching this program in Algeria over satellite, the government of Algeria cut the electricity in large parts of the country.[2][3][4] At that time many people outside the Middle East did not know about Al Jazeera. Those people who knew it said generally good things about Al Jazeera.[5] Because of good reporting from the Lebanese Civil War in 2000-2001 Al Jazeera got even more viewers. However it only became know worldwide after it broadcast statements from al-Quaeda leaders in 2001.

Viewership[change | change source]

Most people think that people that live in the Middle East are given little information and that what they get is biased toward the government.[3] Many people in the Arab world see Al Jazeera as a good and true source of information. Some scholars use the word of contextual objectivity[2], which means that Al Jazeera shows both sides of a story, but still manages to be popular with the audience.[6] Because of this it is probably the most watched news channel in the Middle East. More and more channels, for example BBC and CNN, are using material from Al Jazeera.

Availability[change | change source]

The first Al Jazeera can be watched all over the world with several different satellite and cable systems.[7] In the U.S. Al Jazeera can be watched on DVB-S on the Galaxy 25 and 23 satellites. In Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East it can be received via DVB-S on the Astra and Hot Bird satellites. In Australia Al Jazeera can be watched via the Optus C1 satellite and in the United Kingdom it can be watched via Sky and Freesat.

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Qatar's Al-Jazeera livens up Arab TV scene BBC News - Monitoring; published Thursday, 7 January 1999
    In defense of al-Jazeera MSNBC; by Michael Moran; published 18 October 2001
  2. 2.0 2.1 El-Nawawy and Iskandar. Al-Jazeera: How the free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East. Westview. cf. Further reading
  3. 3.0 3.1 Books of our Time: Al-Jazeera at Google Video; TV programme feat. Lawrence Velvel, Dean of the Mass. School of Law, interviewing author Hugh Miles who reveals a lot about the channel (a, c: 48:30, b: 55:00)
  4. The Rise of Al JazeeraPDF (502 KiB) by Nicolas Eliades; Peace & Conflict Monitor; University for Peace
    Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV: The Power of Free Speech
  5. E.g. in 1999, New York Times reporter Thomas L. Friedman called Al-Jazeera "the freest, most widely watched TV network in the Arab world." – Friedman, Thomas L. (12 February 1999). "Fathers and Sons". New York Times: A27.
  6. The Minotaur of 'Contextual Objectivity': War coverage and the pursuit of accuracy with appeal
  7. Al Jazeera TV Footprint - Coverage