Al Jazeera

American cable providers thus far have refused to carry the new channel, which will be available only online in the United States.

That quote comes from the "Jewish Telegraphic Agency" and exemplifies the exact reason why I am excited to report (for those that somehow might not know) that:

Today, November 15, 2006, Al Jazeera will officially launch its worldwide english-language news network.

For those of you who have been living in a hut in Montana and have not heard of Al Jazeera, it is a Quatar based Arabic language news channel that is viewed by roughly 40 million people per day. They gained notoriety in the west by being willing to broadcast taped messages from Osama Bin Ladin shortly after 9/11 (back before his statements were useful to the US government for instilling fear in their population, which eventually led to US news organisations being more than willing to broadcast anything remotely attributable to him). At the time, and still to today, the channel is labeled by nervous western news agencies as sympathetic towards al qaeda. I should note, however, that upon having received the first tape from Bin Ladin, Al Jazeera contacted the Bush administration and offered George himself airtime on their channel. The offer was refused.

In fact, the Bush administration is so angry at the fact that Al Jazeera is willing to broadcast facts that reflect poorly on the Bush adminstration and their policies, that Al Jazeera's headquarters in Afghanistan and Iraq were targeted by the US military. Also, immediately prior to the Iraqi elections, Al Jazeeras offices in Iraq were forcibly closed by the US military and the channel was banned from reporting from Iraq.

It is not only the Bush administration that does not like Al Jazeera. Al Zarqawi, prior to his death, posted a statement on a website accusing Al Jazeera of being a "mouthpiece for the Americans."

Here is what BBC News has to say about Al Jazeera:
Arab governments have recalled diplomats because of it, the USA has allegedly targeted its offices with bombs, but over 40 million Arabs watch it.
Coverage unprecedented in the Arab media, ranging from pictures of a Palestinian boy being shot dead by Israeli soldiers in his father's arms to interviews with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, have all added to its popularity and credibility.

BBC-trained al-Jazeera editor-in-chief Ahmad al-Sheikh summed up his channel's journalistic ethos in this way: "Be accurate, factual, be there first - that's not necessarily most important - and be with the human being all the time - you don't stay at the top getting the views of politicians and diplomats."
Al-Jazeera's impact and popularity pressured several state-run television stations to update output to compete. Several Arab governments were forced to lift, if only partially, media controls.

Analysts believe al-Jazeera is responsible for politically educating ordinary Arabs and for raising awareness and political knowledge of both Arab and world affairs. It is also credited with raising the expectations of the masses from their governments.

However, its reporting has made it unpopular with Arab and Western governments.

And this is how it is covered in the Los Angeles Times, as posted online at The Moscow Times:
Al-Jazeera, the Arab news channel that began a decade ago as an upstart, has became a thorn in the side of every dictator in the region and the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Now, the network, which turned 10 on Nov. 1, is looking to extend its sphere of influence beyond the Arab world. On Wednesday, it will start the English-language Al-Jazeera International, its most ambitious initiative yet, which will go on the air from Asia to the United States.

The channel will broadcast from network hubs in Qatar, London, Washington and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, offering news, talk and documentaries that its managing director, Nigel Parsons, said would have a decidedly different tone than on established Western channels.

In effect, Al-Jazeera International intends to become for the developing world what Al-Jazeera became to the Arab World: a champion of forgotten causes, a news organization willing to take the contrarian view and to risk being controversial.

"We want to be a channel that covers the untold stories," Parsons said. "We would be anchored in the Middle East, but we intend to cover the developing world fully."

To do that, he said, Al-Jazeera will use Asian reporters to cover Asia, and will have Africans talking about Africa, "rather than having instant experts land there and tell us a story."

The channel has signed prominent journalists, including host and commentator David Frost, former BBC correspondent Rageh Omar, and a one-time CNN anchor, Riz Khan, as well as numbers of producers and reporters from Western networks and some unknowns with a decidedly international look.

"We will carry on the tradition of showing the ugly side of conflict," Parsons said. "War has been too sanitized in the media."

In the words posted on the current english.aljazeera.net website:
Al Jazeera English all set to launch
Tuesday 14 November 2006, 14:30 Makka Time, 11:30 GMT

Al Jazeera's English-language television news channel is all set to reach 80 million homes worldwide.

At 1200 GMT on Wednesday, Al Jazeera English will begin broadcasting from the network's main studios in Doha, Qatar.

The first such international news and current affairs channel with its headquarters in the Middle East, it will far exceed the original launch target of 40 million cable and satellite households.

Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of Al Jazeera network, said: "Our launch figure is over double the original target we set for ourselves.

"This is unprecedented in the broadcasting industry - no other international news channel has launched with such a high number of homes across the world.

"We will continue to build on this figure after launch and will be looking to expand our reach significantly. This is another reflection of the strength of Al Jazeera brand."

In addition to cable and satellite, it will be available on broadband, IPTV, ADSL, terrestrial and mobile phone platforms.

Lindsey Oliver, the commercial director of Al Jazeera English, said: "We particularly appreciate the support that has been shown far and wide with distributors signing up to carry Al Jazeera English on the reputation of the Al Jazeera brand, our stated goals, our on air and off air teams, and without having seen the channel on air."

In addition to cable, ADSL, mobile platforms and satellite, Al Jazeera English will be available as a live stream to the one billion users of the internet worldwide.

Al Jazeera's English website, aljazeera.net/english will also be re-launched on Wednesday at 12 GMT to reflect the television's look and editorial content.

It will provide live streams of the channel, together with RSS feeds, e-mail newsletters and interactive discussion boards.

So where will this Anti-Christ of news channels be available in your area? (this does not apply to the US, where people will need to contact their cable providers and demand that it be made available)

Al Jazeera English platforms:

Afghanistan: Tolo TV Australia: Transact, UBI TV Belguim: TV Vlaanderen Bosnia & Herzegovina: Dzemo, H & S, Bulgaria: MSAT, SKAT Croatia: Vodatel Cyprus: Primetel Denmark: Canal Digitaal Estonia: Elion Ettevotted AS, AS STV, Teleset AS, City TV Finland: Canal Digitaal, TTV/Elisa Co-operation Pool France: TPS, Canal Sat, Neuf/Cegetel, Free, T Online, Tele 2, NOOS Germany: KDG, Premiere Subscribers, DNMG, Kabel BW - Land Baden-Wuerttemberg, HanseNet Telekommunikation GmbH - Hamburg, netcologne GmbH - Cologne, Kabel Kiosk (Eutelsat), Telecolumbus - Berlin, and other areas Ghana: Metro TV Greece: Nova, Teledome DSL Honduras: Cable Sula Hong Kong: HK Broadband Indonesia: XL, Ireland: Digital satellite Israel: YES, Pelephone, Cellcom, Orange Italy: Sky Italia Jordan: Jump TV Kenya: Nation TV Kuwait: United Network Company Latvia: Baltkom, IZZI Lebanon: Cablevision Lithuania: Balticum Malaysia: ASTRO, Maldives: Media Net Malta: Multiplus Middle East: NileSat (including subscribers to the Showtime network), ArabSat New Zealand: ORCUS Norway: Canal Digitaal, Consoll IPTV, Next GenTel Poland: Cyfra Plus, Cyfrowy Polsat, Toya (Lodz) Portugal: Novis Qatar: Qatar Cable Romania: iNES Group, DTH Group South Africa: Vodacom, Spain: Jazztelia TV, Orange TV, ZTV-Marina Sweden: Com Hem, Canal Digitaal Switzerland: NAXOO Thailand: Buddy TV The Netherlands: Canal Digitaal, Essent, Xtra Televisie Turkey: Turksat UAE: Etisalat, Evision UK: Digital satellite (Sky Guide 514), Vingo US: Globecast, Fision, Jump TV, VDC Uganda: Nation TV

Without Further Ado...


Now, some may ask "Why, Misneach, on a website with no advertisements are you running what is basically a full page advertisement for Al Jazeera?"

The answer is simple. In the west we are generally limited to a very small number of news agencies and news wires that all are entirely too willing to unquestioningly pass along whatever propaganda the government wishes to disseminate. I find this physically repulsive.

I believe it is the duty of the news media in a democracy to provide unbiased factual information to the public. Our media fail us on that count consistantly.

As such, I cannot express in words how excited I am to hear that one of my online news favorites is launching their TV news, in english, into the western world. I think it will be a breath of fresh air for a suffocating public.

The following is the Al Jazeera "Code of Ethics"

Being a globally oriented media service, Aljazeera shall determinedly adopt the following code of ethics in pursuance of the vision and mission it has set for itself:

1. Adhere to the journalistic values of honesty, courage, fairness, balance, independence, credibility and diversity, giving no priority to commercial or political considerations over professional ones.

2. Endeavour to get to the truth and declare it in our dispatches, programmes and news bulletins unequivocally in a manner which leaves no doubt about its validity and accuracy.

3. Treat our audiences with due respect and address every issue or story with due attention to present a clear, factual and accurate picture while giving full consideration to the feelings of victims of crime, war, persecution and disaster, their relatives and our viewers, and to individual privacy and public decorum.

4. Welcome fair and honest media competition without allowing it to affect adversely our standards of performance so that getting a "scoop" will not become an end in itself.

5. Present diverse points of view and opinions without bias or partiality.

6. Recognise diversity in human societies with all their races, cultures and beliefs and their values and intrinsic individualities in order to present unbiased and faithful reflection of them.

7. Acknowledge a mistake when it occurs, promptly correct it and ensure it does not recur.

8. Observe transparency in dealing with news and news sources while adhering to internationally established practices concerning the rights of these sources.

9. Distinguish between news material, opinion and analysis to avoid the pitfalls of speculation and propaganda.

10. Stand by colleagues in the profession and offer them support when required, particularly in light of the acts of aggression and harassment to which journalists are subjected at times. Cooperate with Arab and international journalistic unions and associations to defend freedom of the press.


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