Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera

:"For the English-language channel, see Al Jazeera English"

Infobox Network
network_name = Al Jazeera
country = Qatar
network_type = Satellite television network
available = Worldwide
slogan =
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
website = [] (Arabic) [] (English)

Al Jazeera ( _ar. الجزيرة, "unicode|al-jazīrah", IPA| [al.dʒaˈziː.ra] , meaning "The Island," referring to their status as the only independent Middle Eastern news station [] , is a television network headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel with the same name, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages, and in several regions of the world.

The original Al Jazeera channel's willingness to broadcast dissenting views, including on call-in shows, created controversies in Persian Gulf States. The station gained worldwide attention following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when it broadcast video statements by Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders (see Videos of Osama bin Laden).


Al Jazeera operates a number of specialty channels besides its original flagship news channel. As of early 2007, the Al Jazeera network's TV channels include: [ [ Lyngsat page showing, among others, Al Jazeera's channels] [ Lyngsat page showing Qatari TV channels, including Al Jazeera's] ]

* "Al Jazeera"

* "Al Jazeera English"

* "Al Jazeera Documentary Channel"

Future plans

Future announced products include Al Jazeera in a number of other languages — these would include Al Jazeera Urdu, an Urdu language channel to cater mainly to Pakistanis.

Al Jazeera has also been reported to be planning to launch an international newspaper. [ [ Al Jazeera plans to launch Arab newspaper] Arabian Business; published Saturday 4, November 2006]


The original Al Jazeera channel was started in 1996 with a US$150 million grant from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa.

In April 1996, the BBC World Service's Saudi-co-owned Arabic language TV station, faced with censorship demands by the Saudi Arabian government, shut down after two years of operation. Many former BBC World Service staff members joined Al Jazeera, which at the time was not yet on air. The channel began broadcasting in late 1996. [ [ 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]

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-censored 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 Persian Gulf states, 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, on 27 January 1999, Al Jazeera had critics of the Algerian government on during their live program "El-Itidjah el-Mouakass" (="The Opposite Direction"). The Algerian government cut the electricity supply to at least large parts of the capital Algiers (and allegedly to large parts of the country), to prevent the program from getting seen.cite book|author=El-Nawawy and Iskandar|title=Al-Jazeera: How the free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East|publisher=Westview|year=|id= cf. Further reading] [ 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)"] PDFlink| [ The Rise of Al Jazeera] |502 KiB by Nicolas Eliades; Peace & Conflict Monitor; University for Peace [ Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV: The Power of Free Speech] ] At that time, Al Jazeera was not yet generally known in the Western world, but where it was known, the opinion about it was often favourable [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." – cite journal|author=Friedman, Thomas L.|title=Fathers and Sons|journal=New York Times|date=12 February 1999|volume=|issue=|pages=A27|url= ] and Al Jazeera claimed to be the only politically independent television station in the Middle East. Al Jazeera's well presented coverage of the Lebanese Civil War in 2000-2001 gave its viewer ratings a boost throughout the region. However, it wasn't until late 2001 that Al Jazeera achieved worldwide recognition, when it broadcast video statements by al-Qaeda leaders. [ [ Al Jazeera and Bin Laden] ]


Further to the initial US$ 150 million grant from the Emir of Qatar, Al Jazeera had aimed to become self-sufficient through advertising by 2001, but when this failed to occur, the Emir agreed to continue subsidizing it on a year-by-year basis (US$30 million in 2004, [ [ Tutwiler's mission impossible] ] according to Arnaud de Borchgrave). Other major sources of income include advertising, cable subscription fees, broadcasting deals with other companies, and sale of footage. [According to "" [] , a tabloid-style website unrelated to the original Pravda, "Al Jazeera received $20,000 per minute for Bin Laden's speech."] In 2000, advertising accounted for 40% of the station's revenue. [PDFlink| [ Al-Jazeera - "The opinion, and the other opinion" - Sustaining a Free Press in the Middle East] |966 KiB by Kahlil Byrd and Theresse Kawarabayashi; MIT's Media in Transition 3; published 2 May-4, 2003]

Outside the Middle East

In 2003, Al Jazeera hired its first English-language journalists, among whom [ Afshin Rattansi] , from the BBC's "Today Programme" (which had been at the heart of UK events when it came to Tony Blair's decision to back the U.S. invasion of Iraq).

In March 2003, it launched an [ English-language website] (see below).

On 4 July 2005 Al Jazeera officially announced plans to launch a new English-language satellite service to be called Al Jazeera International. [ [ Al Jazeera turns its signal West] ] 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-day-a-week news channel, with 12 hours broadcast from Doha, and four hours each from London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C.

With Al Jazeera's growing global outreach and influence, some scholars including Adel Iskandar have described the station as a transformation of the very definition of "alternative media." [ [ Is Al Jazeera alternative? Mainstream alterity and Assimilating discourses of dissent] ]


It is widely believed internationally that inhabitants of the Arab world are given limited information by their governments and media, and that what is conveyed is biased towards the governments' views. Many people see Al Jazeera as a more trustworthy source of information than government and foreign channels. 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. [ The Minotaur of 'Contextual Objectivity': War coverage and the pursuit of accuracy with appeal] ] As a result, it is probably the most watched news channel in the Middle East.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. [ [ BBC in news deal with Arabic TV] BBC News, published 17 January 2003] Al Jazeera is now considered by some to be a fairly mainstream media network, though more controversial than most. In the United States as of 2006, video footage from the network carried by other stations was largely limited to video segments of hostages.

As of 2007, the Arabic Al Jazeera channel rivals the BBC in worldwide audiences with an estimated 40 to 50 million viewers. [ [ Audience Demographics and Viewership Profile] ] Al Jazeera English has an estimated reach of around 100 million households. [ [ Release:We break 100million barrier] ]


The original Al Jazeera channel is available worldwide through various satellite and cable systems. [ [ Al Jazeera TV Footprint - Coverage] ] In the U.S., it is available through subscription satellite and Free to Air DVB-S on the Galaxy-25 satellite. 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 and Hot Bird satellites. In the UK, it is available on Sky platform.

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. [ [ Al Jazeera Youtube Channel] ]

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 [] , high-resolution available under subscription fees through partner sites.

Al Jazeera's English division has also partnered with Livestation for Internet-based broadcasting [ [ Livestation | Watch Al Jazeera English on your PC] ]


The Chairman of Al Jazeera is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani, a distant cousin of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Al Jazeera recently restructured its operations and have formed a Network that contains all their different channels. Wadah Khanfar, the managing director of the Arabic Channel was appointed as the Director General of the Al Jazeera Network. He also acts as the Managing Director of the Arabic channel. He is supported by Ahmed Sheikh, Editor-in-Chief, and Amen Jaballah.

The Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic website is Ahmed Sheikh, and the editorial head is Mohammad Dawood. It has more than one hundred editorial staff.

The Editor-in-Chief of the English-language site is Russell Merryman, who took over in August 2005. He replaced Omar Bec who was caretaking the site after the departure of Managing Editor Alison Balharry. Previous incumbents include Joanne Tucker and Ahmed Sheikh.

Prominent on-air personalities include Faisal al-Qassem, host of the talk show "The Opposite Direction", Luna al-Shibl, news anchor and occasional host of the show "Unlimited (bi-la hudud)".

The chief investigative reporter is Yosri Fouda. He is currently in charge of Jazeera's London bureau.

Criticism and controversy

While Al Jazeera has a large audience in the Middle East and worldwide, the organisation and the original Arabic channel in particular have been involved in numerous controversies, [ [ Al Jazeera under fire] ] and especially in some parts of the western world, many people have an unfavourable view of Al Jazeera. [ [ Mosaic Intelligence Report - 17 November 2006] ; NB: the poll figures quoted in the report are from a poll analysis apparently commissioned by Accuracy in Media with the goal of exploring how the US public could be mobilised against Al Jazeera (cf. section "In Conclusion…" of PDFlink| [ survey analysis document] |39.1 KiB ).] [ [ Anderson Cooper 360 on Al Jazeera International] ]

A widely reported criticism is the allegation that Al Jazeera had shown videos of masked terrorists beheading western hostages in Iraq. [ Rumsfeld blames Al Jazeera over Iraq] ] When this was reported in other media, Al Jazeera pressed for retractions to be made. [ [,3604,1649144,00.html Was George Bush serious about attack on Al Jazeera?] ] This allegation was again repeated on Fox News in the USA on the launch day of Al Jazeera's English service, 15 November 2006. [by Brent Bozell at 12.30 ET during the Fox Online program ( [ YouTube video] )]

Later The Guardian apologized for incorrect information that Al Jazeera 'had shown videos of masked terrorists beheading western hostages'. [ [,3604,1649144,00.html The Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Wednesday 30 November 2005] ]

Al Jazeera has been entangled in controversies involving the following countries:


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 "El-Itidjah el-Mouakass" debate on the political situation in Algeria. [ [ RSF strongly condemns ban on al-Jazeera] ]


The Bahraini Information Minister, Nabeel Yacoob Al Hamer, banned Al Jazeera correspondents from reporting from inside the country on 10 May 2002, saying that the station was biased towards Israel and against Bahrain. [ [ Bahrain bans Al Jazeera TV] ] After improvements in relations between Bahrain and Qatar in 2004, Al Jazeera correspondents returned to Bahrain.


During the ongoing Iraq war, Al Jazeera faced the same reporting and movement restrictions as other news-gathering organizations. In addition, one of its reporters, Tayseer Allouni, was expelled from the country, while another one, Diyar Al-Omari, was stripped of his journalistic permits by the Iraqi Information Ministry. Reacting to this, Al Jazeera announced on 2 April 2003, that it would "temporarily freeze all coverage" of Iraq in protest of what Al Jazeera described as unreasonable interference from Iraqi officials. [ [ CPJ News Alert - Missing journalist's wife demands more information] ] All of these decisions were later reverted.

In May 2003, the CIA, through the Iraqi National Congress, released documents purportedly showing that Al Jazeera had been infiltrated by Iraqi spies, and was regarded by Iraqi officials as part of their propaganda effort. As reported by the Sunday Times, the alleged spies were described by an Al Jazeera executive as having minor roles with no input on editorial decisions.

On 23 September 2003, Iraq suspended Al Jazeera (and Al-Arabiya) from reporting on official government activities for two weeks for what the Council stated as supporting recent attacks on council members and Coalition occupational forces. The move came after allegations by Iraqis who stated that the channel had incited anti-occupation violence (by airing statements from Iraqi insurgency leaders), increasing ethnic and sectarian tensions, and being supportive of the insurgency.

During 2004, Al Jazeera broadcast several video tapes of various victims of kidnappings in Iraq, which had been sent to the network. The videos had been filmed by the kidnappers holding the hostages. The hostages were shown, often blindfolded, pleading for their release. They often appeared to be forced to read out prepared statements of their kidnappers. Al Jazeera has assisted authorities from the home countries of the victims in an attempt to secure the release of kidnapping victims. This included broadcasting pleas from family members and government officials. Contrary to some allegations, including the oft-reported comments of Donald Rumsfeld on 4 June 2005, Al Jazeera has never shown beheadings. (Beheadings have appeared on numerous non-Al Jazeera Internet websites and have sometimes been misattributed to Al Jazeera.)

On 7 August 2004, the Iraqi Allawi government shut down the Iraq office of Al Jazeera, claiming that it was responsible for presenting a negative image of Iraq, and charging the network with fueling anti-Coalition hostilities. Al Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout said: "It's regrettable and we believe it's not justifiable. This latest decision runs contrary to all the promises made by Iraqi authorities concerning freedom of expression and freedom of the press," [ [ Militia dig in as fighting rages in holy city] The Sydney Morning Herald; published 9 August 2004] and Al Jazeera vowed to continue its reporting from inside Iraq. [ [ Iraqi Government Shuts Al-Jazeera Station] by Rawya Rageh; Associated Press; published 7 August 2004] News photographs showed United States and Iraqi military personnel working together to close the office. Initially closed by a one-month ban, the shutdown was extended indefinitely in September 2004, and the offices were sealed, [ [,2763,1298039,00.html Iraq extends al-Jazeera ban and raids offices] by Luke Harding; The Guardian; published Monday 6 September 2004] drawing condemnation from international journalists. [ [ Al-Jazeera Under Fire: IFJ Condemns Iraqi Ban and Canada’s “Bizarre” Restrictions] International Federation of Journalists; published 6 September 2004]


Al Jazeera has been criticized for failing to report on many hard hitting news stories that originate from Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based. The two most frequently cited stories were the revoking of citizenship from the Al Ghafran clan of the Al Murrah tribe in response to a failed coup that members of the Al Ghafran clan were implicated in, and Qatar's growing relations with and diplomatic visits to Israel. [ [ Secret Dubai diary: into exile] ] Fact|date=February 2007


Reporter Tayseer Allouni was arrested in Spain on 5 September 2003, on a charge of having provided support for members of al-Qaeda. [ [ Al-Jazeera Arrest] CNN; published 5 September 2003] Judge Baltasar Garzón, who had issued the arrest warrant, ordered Allouni held without bail. Al Jazeera wrote to then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and protested: "On several occasions Western journalists met secretly with secret organizations and they were not subjected to any legal action because they were doing their job, so why is Alouni being excluded?" [ [ Spanish judge orders Al-Jazeera reporter to jail] by Mar Roman; Associated Press; published Thursday, September 11, 2003] Allouni was released on bail several weeks later over health concerns, but prohibited from leaving the country.

On 19 September, a Spanish court issued an arrest warrant for Allouni, before the expected verdict. Allouni had asked the court for permission to visit his family in Syria to attend the funeral of his mother, but authorities denied his request and instead ordered him back to jail. [ [ Aljazeera reporter placed in detention] Al Jazeera; published Wednesday, 19 January 2005]

Although he pleaded not guilty of all the charges against him, Allouni was sentenced on 26 September 2005 to seven years in prison for being a financial courier for al-Qaeda. Allouni insisted he merely interviewed bin Laden after the September 11 attack on the United States. [ [ Special Reports - Taysir Alluni] Al Jazeera] Al Jazeera has continuously supported Allouni and maintain that he is innocent. [ [ A fight for justice - Al Jazeera] ]

Many international and private organizations condemned the arrest and called on the Spanish court to free Taysir Allouni. [e.g. [ Al Jazeera journalist re-arrested 10 days before trial verdict] ] Websites such as [ Alony Solidarity] were created to support Allouni.

=United Kingdom= UK officials, like their US counterparts, strongly protested Al Jazeera's coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Al Jazeera stated that the coalition leaders were taking exception because its reporting made it more difficult for both countries to manage the way the war was being reported. [ Al-Jazeera: News channel in the news] BBC News; published Saturday, 29 March 2003]

United States

While prior to September 11, 2001, the United States government had lauded Al Jazeera for its role as an independent media outlet in the Middle East, US officials have since claimed an anti-American bias to Al Jazeera's news coverage. [ World and America watching different wars] Christian Science Monitor]

The station first gained widespread attention in the West following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when it broadcast videos in which Osama bin Laden and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith defended and justified the attacks. This led to significant controversy and accusations by the United States government that Al Jazeera was engaging in propaganda on behalf of terrorists. Al Jazeera countered that it was merely making information available without comment, and indeed several western television channels later followed suit in broadcasting portions of the tapes.

On 13 November, during the US invasion of Afghanistan, 2001 a U.S. missile strike destroyed Al Jazeera's office in Kabul. There were no casualties. [ [ Al-Jazeera Kabul offices hit in US raid] ]

Nigel Parsons, managing director of Al-Jazeera's English service said the channel's viewership is also growing in the U.S., despite the service being shunned by major cable or satellite providers in the country who say there is no market.

"We are even making inroads in the United States, not only via cable and satellite," Parsons said at a branding forum in Singapore. "Our service is available via broadband ... we now have tens of thousands of subscribers in America, dispelling the notion that Americans aren't interested in foreign news. They must be, they're fighting two wars."

Parsons also said a distribution tie-up between the network and YouTube has been "an astonishing success," with almost 100,000 viewers downloading videos every week, and many of them from the United States.

Al-Jazeera could not immediately provide exact figures on U.S. online subscriptions and YouTube viewers. YouTube Inc. is owned by Google Inc.

In America, one of the few cable companies in the country to offer Al-Jazeera in its cable packages is city-owned Burlington Telecom, which serves 1,200 households in Vermont's largest city. The channel is also on the air in Houston, Washington, D.C., and parts of Ohio. []

Detention of Sami Al Hajj

Al Jazeera cameraman Sami Al Hajj, a Sudanese national, was detained while in transit to Afghanistan in December 2001, and up until May 2008 was held, without charge, as an "enemy combatant" in Camp Delta at Guantánamo Bay. The reasons for his detention remain unknown, although the US' official statement on all detainees is that they are security threats. Reporters Without Borders have repeatedly expressed concern over Al Hajj's detention, [ [ Call for Sami Al-Haj’s release from Guantanamo after lawyer provides new information] [ Call for release of cameraman Sami Al Hajj as he completes fourth year in Guantanamo] [ Call for Al-Jazeera cameraman's release from Guantanamo on fifth anniversary of arrival of first detainees] ] mentioned Al Hajj in their Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index, [ [ North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea the worst violators of press freedom] ] and launched a petition for his release. [ [ Sami Al Haj] - Petition - Reporters Sans Frontieres] On 23 November 2005, Sami Al Hajj's lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith reported that, during (125 of 130) interviews, U.S. officials had questioned Sami as to whether Al Jazeera was a front for al-Qaeda. [ [ More news is good news] at New Age BD]

In the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. Pentagon hired the Rendon Group to target and possibly punish Al Jazeera reporters who did not stay on message. [ [ The Man Who Sold the War] by James Bamford; Rolling Stone; published 17 November 2005]

When Al Jazeera went on to do reporting featuring very graphic footage from inside Iraq, US officials decried Al Jazeera as anti-American and as inciting violence. This sentiment was widely echoed throughout the US media and population.

On Monday, 24 March 2003, shortly after the start of the invasion, two Al Jazeera reporters covering the New York Stock Exchange had their credentials revoked. The New York Stock Exchange 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. [ [ Al Jazeera banned from NYSE floor] at Arab Press Freedom Watch] [ Al Jazeera ousted from NYSE (25 March 2003] ] The move was quickly mirrored by Nasdaq stock market officials. [ [ Al Jazeera banned from two Wall Street exchanges (26 March 2003)] ]

Killing of Tareq Ayyoub

On 8 April 2003 Al Jazeera's office in Baghdad was hit by a U.S. missile, killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub and wounding another. [ [ Al-Jazeera 'hit by missile'] ] Al Jazeera, in order to avoid coming under US fire, had informed the U.S. of the office's precise coordinates prior to the incident. [ [ Did the US murder these Journalists?] by Robert Fisk; SF Bay Guardian; published 26 April 2003] Dima Tareq Tahboub, the widow of Tareq Ayyoub, continues to seek justice for her husband's death and has among other things written for the Guardian and participated in a documentary broadcast on Al Jazeera English. [ [,,1055684,00.html The war on al-Jazeera] Comment by Dima Tareq Tahboub, the widow of Tareq Ayyoub, The Guardian, 4 October 2003]

On 30 January 2005 the "New York Times "reported that the Qatari government, under pressure from the Bush administration, was speeding up plans to sell the station. [ [ Under Pressure, Qatar May Sell Jazeera Station] , New York Times, 30 January 2005] However, as of 2008, the station/network has not been sold and it is unclear whether there are still any plans to do so.

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 U.S. President George W. Bush had considered bombing Al Jazeera's Doha headquarters in April 2004, when U.S. Marines were conducting a contentious assault on Fallujah. []

In light of this allegation, Al Jazeera has questioned whether it has been targeted deliberately in the past – Al Jazeera's Kabul office was bombed in 2001 and another missile hit its office in Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq, killing correspondent Tareq Ayyoub. Both of these attacks occurred subsequent to Al Jazeera's disclosure of the locations of their offices to the United States.Fact|date=January 2008

On the Web

Al Jazeera's web-based service is accessible subscription-free throughout the world.The English and Arabic sections are editorially distinct, with their own selection of news and comment.

High quality video broadcast of Al Jazeera are available in English as a subscription service.

Arabic language

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 Libya and Syria, of knowingly being invested in by a Hamas member (both of which are illegal in the United States), and of underpaying customs duties. [PDFlink| [ Elisha Brothers convicted] |63.1 KiB ]

English language

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.

Web site attacks

Immediately after its launch, the English site was attacked by one or several hackers, who launched denial-of-service attacks, and by a social engineer, who redirected visitors to a site featuring an American flag. [ [ Al-Jazeera hacker pleads guilty] BBC News; published Friday, 13 June 2003] [ Al Jazeera and the Net - free speech, but don't say that] by John Lettice; The Register; published Monday, 7 April 2003] Both events were widely reported as Al Jazeera's website having been attacked by "hackers". [ [,7496,922264,00.html Al-Jazeera websites 'hit by hackers'] by Dominic Timms; Guardian Unlimited; published Wednesday, 26 March 2003] 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. [ [ Al-Jazeera cracker charged] by John Leyden; The Register; published Thursday, 12 June 2003] In June 2003, Racine pleaded guilty to wire fraud and unlawful interception of an electronic communication. [ [ Southern California Man Who Hijacked Al Jazeera Website Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Charges] [ Guilty plea in Al Jazeera site hack] [ Al Jazeera hacker gets community service] ] As of 2007, the perpetrators of the denial-of-service attacks remain unknown.

Web host changes

The English-language site was forced to change internet hosting providers several times, due, in Al Jazeera's opinion, to political pressure. Initially, hosting for the English-language site was provided by the U.S.-based company DataPipe, which gave Al Jazeera notice, soon followed by Akamai Technologies. Al Jazeera later shifted to the French branch of NavLink, and then to (the as of 2007 current host) AT&T WorldNet Services.


* 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." [ [ Wide Angle - Exclusive to Al Jazeera] ]
* Another documentary, "Al-Jazeera, An Arab Voice for Freedom or Demagoguery? The UNC Tour" [ [ "Al-Jazeera, An Arab Voice for Freedom or Demagoguery? The UNC Tour"] ] was filmed two months after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack.


* 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. [ [ Ibn Rushd prize 1999] ]
* 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." [ [ Index: Free speaking voices in the wilderness] ]
* In April 2004, 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". [ [ The Webby Awards] ]
* In 2004, Al Jazeera was voted by [] readers as the fifth most influential global brand behind Apple Computer, Google, Ikea and Starbucks. [ [ Apple bites big] ]


*In response to Al Jazeera, a group of Saudi investors created Al Arabiya in the first quarter of 2003. Despite (especially initial) scepticism over the station's Saudi funding (cf. History) and a perception of censorship of anti-Saudi content, [ [ Attacks on the Press - 2004: Mideast] ] Al Arabiya has successfully emulated Al Jazeera, garnered a significant audience share, and has also gotten similarly involved in controversy – Al Arabiya has been severely criticised by the Iraqi and US authorities and has also had journalists killed on the job. [ [ Profile: Al Arabiya TV] [ Shock over Iraqi reporter's death] ]

*In order to counter a perceived bias of Al Jazeera, the U.S. government in 2004 founded Al Hurra (="the free one"), a competing Arabic-language satellite TV station variably seen as a public diplomacy tool or a propaganda outlet. 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. [ [ Time for the Last Hurrah for US' Al-Hurra] ]

*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 , Russia Today and Press TV.

*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 at 7:00 (Moscow time). 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 is scheduled to debut an Arabic-language news channel in North Africa, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf on 13 March 2008. [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | BBC launches Arabic TV channel ] ] This is the second time that the BBC is launching 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.


Further reading

* Abdul-Mageed, M. M., and Herring, S. C. (2008). Arabic and English news coverage on In: F. Sudweeks, H. Hrachovec, and C. Ess (Eds.), Proceedings of Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication 2008 (CATaC'08), Nimes, France, 24 June-27. Abstract and full article:
* M. Arafa, P.J. Auter, & K. Al-Jaber (2005), "Hungry for news and information: Instrumental use of Al-Jazeera TV among viewers in the Arab World and Arab Diaspora", Journal of Middle East Media, 1(1), 21-50
* Marc Lynch (2005), "Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today", Columbia University Press
* N. Miladi (2004), "Al-Jazeera", ISBN 1-86020-593-3
* Hugh Miles (2004), "Al Jazeera: How Arab TV news challenged the world", Abacus, ISBN 0-3491-1807-8,
** aka "Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News challenges America", Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-1789-9 (2005 reprint),
** aka "Al Jazeera: The inside story of the Arab news channel that is challenging the West", Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-4235-4 (2006 reprint)
* Mohammed el-Nawawy and Adel Iskandar (2002), "Al-Jazeera: How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East", Westview Press, ISBN 0-8133-4017-9,
** aka "Al-Jazeera: The story of the network that is rattling governments and redefining modern journalism", aka "Al-Jazeera: Ambassador of the Arab World", Westview Press/Basic Books/Perseus Books, ISBN 0-8133-4149-3 (2003 reprint)
* Erik C. Nisbet, Matthew C. Nisbet, Dietram Scheufele, and James Shanahan (2004), PDFlink| [ "Public diplomacy, television news, and Muslim opinion"] |187 KiB , Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 9 (2), 11-37
* Donatella Della Ratta (2005), [ "Al Jazeera. Media e società arabe nel nuovo millennio"] it icon, Bruno Mondadori, ISBN8-8424-9282-5
* Naomi Sakr (2002), "Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization and the Middle East", I.B. Tauris, ISBN 1-8606-4689-1
* Tatham, Steve (2006), "Losing Arab Hearts & Minds: The Coalition, Al-Jazeera & Muslim Public Opinion", Hurst & Co (London), Published 1 Jan 2006, ISBN 0-9725-5723-7
* Mohamed Zayani (2005), "The Al Jazeera Phenomenon: Critical Perspectives On New Arab Media", Paradigm Publishers, ISBN 1-5945-1126-8

External links

* Official Al Jazeera websites:
**ar icon [ general Al Jazeera website]
**ar icon [ Arabic Al Jazeera TV channel]
**en icon [ Al Jazeera English website]
**ar icon [ Al Jazeera Sports website]
**en icon [ Al JazeERA NewERA website]
**ar icon/en icon [ Al Jazeera Children's Channel website]
**ar icon [ Al Jazeera Documentary Channel website] :"Note that the websites and are not affiliated with Al Jazeera."

* Watch Al Jazeera online:
** [ Al Jazeera] via TV Darija
** [ Al Jazeera English] (in the US) via
** [ Al Jazeera English] (in Europe) via
** [ Al Jazeera English] (in the UK) via
* [ How to watch Al Jazeera English via Satellite in North America]
* [ Al Jazeera English at YouTube] - the English channel's official YouTube account featuring clips of past programs
* [ Al Jazeera: demographics, programs, history]
* [ Al Jazeera demographics]
* [ Al Jazeera profile] , USC PublicDiplomacyWiki, retrieved 6 January 2007
* [ Al Jazeera, Radio Sawa Founders Report on Media in the Middle East] , UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations, posted 11/4/2003, retrieved 01/26/2007
* [ 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).

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