Al-Jazeera

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Background


Al-Jazeera is a television channel based in Qatar, Doha. It began broadcasting in 1996, and now is one of the main news channels of the Arabic peninsula, which is accessible worldwide through satellites (al-bab.com).

Al-Jazeera, which literally means "The Island" in Arabic, is a term that may also be used to refer to the Arabian peninsula. Some opinions state that the TV station's name refers more specifically to its home country, Qatar. Qatar is an island which is part of the Arabian peninsula (al-bab.com).

Besides its primary news channel, Al-Jazeera consists of and operates several specialized television channels. These include: Al-Jazeera English, Al-Jazeera Sports, Al-Jazeera Live, and the Al-Jazeera Children's Channel (Wikipedia). Al-Jazeera English was first launched on November 15, 2006 (Watch clip of Al-Jazeera English Launch). It is a 24-hour news and current affairs channel in English. Al-Jazeera Sports is a channel in which it focuses on sports, while Al-Jazeera Live broadcasts live coverage and conferences without editing. Lastly, to complete the spectrum, Al-Jazeera has a channel targeting children as the audience. It also has a website available in both, English and Arabic. Due to its growing popularity, it has over 35 million viewers, including 200,000 in the United States (Iskandar & El-Nawawy, 2003). It approaches news in an objective sense and attempts to provide all sides of a news report or story, and manages to cater to wide audience while providing a different twist rather than a one sided presentation that we are all used to.


Al-Jazeera English's launch on November 15, 2006.

Its Popularity


Al-Jazeera, as an independent source, "emerged as ambassador to the Arab world in the events following September 11, 2001" (Iskandar & El-Nawawy, 2003). It has been cited, referenced to, and mentioned many times throughout the Western media as it is considered to be one of the main sources from and by the Middle-East. This was done with its exclusive access to different global issues such as Al-Jazeera's exposure of Osama Bin Laden's recordings on the CNN. It was also actively broadcasting from Iraq during the 2003 US invasion (Iskandar, El-Naway, 2003). It kept a close eye out for the Israel-Lebanon war in the summer of 2006. Also, is an active broadcaster of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The U.S. Government seemed to have concerns regarding Al-Jazeera; they have accused the channel of making inaccurate claims against America, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and England, post 911 and during the apparent "War on Terror". People of the West need to watch a news channel from the Middle-East that can be compared to and put on a pedestal beside CNN so that they can acquire knowledge from both sides of the story, instead of just relying on the bias information broadcasted and/or published by CNN and its public figure Larry King.

Al Jazeera has received many awards for its contribution of free exchange of information in the Arab world and being an influential communication tool. One of its greatest achievements would be the award it won from the Index on Censorship in 2005.

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Osama Bin Laden's recording.

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Live coverage of war in Lebanon.

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Presents the diversified views in the Middle-East.

To further its scope, Al-Jazeera launches its broadcasts, pictures, articles, and programs online at: www.aljazeera.net.

Its Independence


Al-Jazeera strived to maintain its independence as an international free press news network (Iskandar & El-Nawawy, 2003). It is funded by the Qatari government. However, al-Jazeera was given an unprecedented measure of editorial freedom. The professionalism of its news coverage, plus studio discussions which raised many previously-taboo issues, call-in debates, and its live broadcasts soon let it achieve a huge audience in the Arabic-speaking countries and world-wide (al-bab.com).

One of the privileges that Al-Jazeera offers is that it allows the people to view an alternative perspective to the news. Most of the news that is being watched is one sided, and bias in terms of what is wanted to be portrayed to the audience to attain their attention from certain perspectives and get the votes of the majority. Al-Jazeera has gained its popularity through the accuracy of its work and how serious it takes events.


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Works Cited


Iskandar, Adel & El-Nawawy, Mohammed. AL-JAZEERA. The Story Of The Network That Is Rattling Governments & Refining Modern Journalism Updated With A New Prologue And Epilogue. Basic Books: Aug 6, 2003.

Al-Bab.com. An Open Door to The Arab World: www.al-bab.com (Consulted on Dec. 7)

Wikipedia: Al-Jazeera: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera#Viewership (Consulted on: Dec. 4)

video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijsNmMZt9fc&mode=related&search=

pictures:
www.aljazeera.net
www.agoravox.fr
http://arabic.cnn.com/2003/world/9/8/tayseer.spain/al-jazeera.story.jpg~1062916472791120800.jpg