Al Jazeera: Wikis


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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

Al Jazeera (Arabic: الجزيرةal-ğazīra IPA: [aldʒazi:ra]), meaning "the Island" or "the peninsula" in Arabic, is an International news network. The name refers to the Arabian Peninsula, the network's geographic origin.[1] Al Jazeera 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. Al Jazeera is accessible in several world regions.

The original Al Jazeera channel's willingness to broadcast dissenting views, including on call-in shows, created controversies in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The station gained worldwide attention following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when it was the only channel to cover the war on Afghanistan live from its office there.



The original Al Jazeera channel was started in 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[2][3]. By its funding through loans or grants rather than direct government subsidies, the channel maintains independence of its editorial policy[4][5]. 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 April 1996 after two years of operation because of censorship demands by the Saudi Arabian government.[6]

Following the initial US$ 137 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 several consecutive loans[3] on a year-by-year basis (US$30 million in 2004,[7] according to Arnaud de Borchgrave). Other major sources of income include advertising, cable subscription fees, broadcasting deals with other companies, and sale of footage.[8] In 2000, advertising accounted for 40% of the station's revenue.[9]

Animation showing the calligraphic composition of the Al Jazeera logo.

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.[10]


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. It has more than one hundred editorial staff.

The Editor-in-Chief of the English-language site is Mohamed Nanabhay. He replaces Beat Witschi was caretaking the website after Russell Merryman, the previous Editor-in-Chief was moved to a new development role. Merryman had run the website since 2005 and re-launched the site alongside the launch of the new channel in November 2006. 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, Ahmed Mansour, host of the show Unlimited (bi-la hudud) and Sami Haddad.

Yosri Fouda, producer and presenter of an investigative journalism program "Top Secret" announced in May 2009 his resignation from Al Jazeera.


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.[11] 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,[12] which highlights the tension between objectivity and audience appeal, to describe the station's controversial yet popular news approach.[13] 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.[14] 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.[citation needed]

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 being seen.[11][12][15] 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[16] and Al Jazeera claimed to be the only politically independent television station in the Middle East.However, it wasn't until late 2001 that Al Jazeera achieved worldwide recognition, when it broadcast video statements by al-Qaeda leaders.[17]

Expansion 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.[18] 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.. This offer came from a non-profit US network which also broadcasts Russian-language programming for free to US viewers.

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."[19]

As of 2007, the Arabic Al Jazeera channel rivals the BBC in worldwide audiences with an estimated 40 to 50 million viewers.[20] Al Jazeera English has an estimated reach of around 100 million households.[21]

On November 26, 2009, Al Jazeera English received approval from the CRTC, which enables Al Jazeera English to broadcast via Satellite in Canada [22]


The original Al Jazeera channel is available worldwide through various satellite and cable systems.[23] In the U.S., it is available through subscription satellite and free to air DVB-S on the Galaxy 25 and Galaxy 23 satellites. 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. The Optus C1 satellite in Australia carries the channel for free, while in the UK it is available on Sky and Freesat platforms.

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.[24]

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

Al Jazeera's English division has also partnered with Livestation for Internet-based broadcasting.[25] This enables viewers to watch Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera live worldwide.

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 available streamed live online. On April 13, 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 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.[26]

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.[27] Al Jazeera later shifted to the French branch of NavLink, and then to (the as of 2007 current host) AT&T WorldNet Services.

Creative Commons

On January 13, 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, which allows easy downloading and integration with Miro, and can be viewed on .[28][29][30][31][32][33]

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.[citation needed]

Al Jazeera has also been reported to be planning to launch an international newspaper.[34]

Al Jazeera Arabic began using a chroma key studio on 13 September 2009. Similar to Sky News, Al Jazeera broadcasted from that studio while the channels main newsroom was given a new look. The channel relaunched, with new graphics and music along with a new studio, on November 1, 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.[11][12][15]

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.[35]

Palestinian Territories

On 15 July 2009, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank closed down Al Jazeera's offices in the territory, 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 information ministry said the station's coverage was "unbalanced" and accused it of incitement against the PLO and the PA.[36]

On 19 July 2009 Abbas rescinded this ban and allowed Al Jazeera to resume operations.[37]

United States

On November 13, 2001, during the US invasion of Afghanistan, 2001, a U.S. missile strike destroyed Al Jazeera's office in Kabul. There were no casualties.[38]

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.[39] 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.[40] This sentiment was widely echoed throughout the US media and population.[41]

Examples of censorship in the U.S. came shortly after the start of the invasion.[42] On Monday, 24 March 2003, 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.[43] 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.[42] The move was quickly mirrored by Nasdaq stock market officials.[44]

In addition, Akamai Technologies, a U.S. company, cancelled a contract to provide web services for Al-Jazeera’s English language website.[41][45]

Death 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.[46] 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.[47] Dima Tareq Tahboub, the widow of Tareq Ayyoub, continues as of 2003 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.[48]

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.[49] 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 former 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.[50]

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.[51]

Web site attacks

Immediately after its launch in 2003, 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.[52][27] Both events were widely reported as Al Jazeera's website having been attacked by "hackers".[53] 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.[54] In June 2003, Racine pleaded guilty to wire fraud and unlawful interception of an electronic communication.[55] As of 2008, the perpetrators of the denial-of-service attacks remain unknown.


While Al Jazeera has a large audience in the Middle East and worldwide, the organization and the original Arabic channel in particular have been involved in numerous controversies,[56] including in some parts of the Western world many people have an unfavourable view of Al Jazeera.[57][58]

A widely reported criticism is the false allegation that Al Jazeera had shown videos of masked terrorists beheading western hostages in Iraq [59]. When this was reported in other media, Al Jazeera pressed for retractions to be made.[60] This allegation was again repeated on Fox News in the USA on the launch day of Al Jazeera's English service, 15 November 2006.[61] Later The Guardian apologized for incorrect information that Al Jazeera 'had shown videos of masked terrorists beheading western hostages'.[62]

Al Jazeera has been entangled in the following controversies:


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.[63] After improvements in relations between Bahrain and Qatar in 2004, Al Jazeera correspondents returned to Bahrain.


During the ongoing Iraq war, Al Jazeera faced reporting and movement restrictions, as did 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 US. 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.[64] 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 websites and have sometimes been misattributed to Al Jazeera.)[59]

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,"[65] and Al Jazeera vowed to continue its reporting from inside Iraq.[66] 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,[67] drawing condemnation from international journalists.[68]

In April 2003, the Qatar channel broadcasted a long commemorative program showing ex-General of the Iraqi Republican Guards, Sayf ad-Din Rawi, who claimed that a neutron bomb had been dropped on the international airport of Bagdad during the invasion of Iraq.[69] This accusation was easy to deny, and was based on the popular belief that neutron bombs only produce radiation while leaving infrastructure intact. Also, a nuclear weapon like a neutron bomb produces nuclear fallout which is easily, and rapidly perceptible from other countries.


On 19 July 2008, Al Jazeera TV broadcast a program from Lebanon that covered the "welcome-home" festivities for Samir Kuntar. In the program, the head of Al Jazeera's Beirut office, Ghassan bin Jiddo, praised Kuntar as a "pan-Arab hero" and organized a birthday party for him. In response, Israel's Government Press Office (GPO) threatened to boycott the satellite channel unless it apologized. A few days later an official letter was issued by Al Jazeera's director general, Wadah Khanfar, in which he admitted that the program violated the station's Code of Ethics and that he had ordered the channel's programming director to take steps to ensure that such an incident does not recur.


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.[70]


Al Jazeera is being criticized by some Egyptian media for its continuous attacks against Egypt and its government to destroy Egypt’s image in the region as they claim. [71] [72] [73]


In January 2009 Al Jazeera aired a documentary on toxic waste dumped in Somalia. A Somali journalist who studied the contents of the two part Al Jazeera documentary, The Toxic Truth,[74] has concluded that Al Jazeera failed to rigorously research the story because one of the letters used to substantiate arms smuggling was issued on 15 April 1992, from the Ministry of Defence of People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, almost two years after South Yemen and North Yemen united to form The Republic of Yemen in May 1990.[75] Another criticism of the documentary was that Al Jazeera did not allow Ali Mahdi Muhammad, former interim president of Somalia, to exercise his right of reply for being accused of authorising Italy based companies to build dumping grounds in Somalia.


Reporter Tayseer Allouni was arrested in Spain on 5 September 2003, on a charge of having provided support for members of al-Qaeda.[76] 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 Allouni being excluded?"[77] 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.[78]

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.[79] Al Jazeera has continuously supported Allouni and maintain that he is innocent.[80]

Many international and private organizations (Reporters Without Borders among them) condemned the arrest and called on the Spanish court to free Taysir Allouni.[81] 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.[40]

United States

While prior to 11 September 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.[40][82]

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 several western television channels later followed suit in broadcasting portions of the tapes.

On November 13, during the US invasion of Afghanistan, 2001, a U.S. missile strike destroyed Al Jazeera's office in Kabul. There were no casualties.[38]

At a 3 October 2001 press conference, Colin Powell tried to persuade the emir of Qatar to shut down Al Jazeera.[83][84][85]

On 12 October 2008 Al Jazeera broadcast interviews with people attending a Sarah Palin 2008 United States presidential election rally in St Clairsville, Ohio, with interviewees making comments about Barack Obama such as "he regards white people as trash". The report got over 2 million views on Youtube[86] and elicited comment by Colin Powell: "Those kind of images going out on Al Jazeera are killing us."[87] Following this the Washington Post ran an op-ed,[88] claiming the news channel was deliberately encouraging "anti-American sentiment overseas",[88] which was criticized by Al Jazeera as "a gratuitous and uninformed shot at Al Jazeera's motives", as the report was just one of "hundreds of hours of diverse coverage".[87]

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,[89] mentioned Al Hajj in their Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index,[90] and launched a petition for his release.[91] 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.[92]

Dalal al-Maghrabi

On July 5, 2008 Al-Jazeera TV caused controversy by dedicating an Arabic-language program to Dalal Mughrabi. In the program, the host allegedly "glorified" the Coastal Road Massacre in which al-Maghrabi and eleven other terrorists killed a total of 36 Israelis, and declared that "Heroism transcends the gender divide", referring to Dalal al-Maghrabi, who had shot school-children with her own hands.[93][94]



  • 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.[97]
  • 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."[98]
  • 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".[99]
  • In 2004, Al Jazeera was voted by readers as the fifth most influential global brand behind Apple Computer, Google, Ikea and Starbucks.[100]


  • 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,[101] 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.[102]
  • 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.[103]
  • A further competitor is the Rusiya Al-Yaum channel - the first Russian TV news channel broadcasting in Arabic and head-quartered 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 launched BBC Arabic Television on 11 March 2008, an Arabic-language news channel in North Africa and the Middle East.[104] 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.
  • Since Euronews started broadcasting its programs in Arabic on the 12 July 2008, it has entered into competition with Al Jazeera. Arabic is the eighth language in which Euronews is published, after English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.


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:[105]

  • Al Jazeera
the original international Arabic-language 24h news channel launched in 1996
a popular Arabic-language sports channel launched in 2003
launched in 2004
launched in 2008
launched in 2008
launched in Aug,2009
launched in Aug,2009
launched in Aug,2009
launched in Aug,2009
a live politics and public interest channel (similar to C-SPAN or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences in real time without editing or commentary launched in 2005
a global English-language 24h news channel launched in 2006
an Arabic language documentary channel launched in 2007
  • Al Jazeera Training Center
an Arabic language Training Center


  1. ^
  2. ^ Naomi Sakr, 2001. Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization & the Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris, pp.57,
  3. ^ a b Hugh Miles, 2005. Al-Jazeera: The Inside Story of the Arab News Channel that is Challenging the West. New York: Grove Press, p.346,
  4. ^ Naomi Sakr, 2001. Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization & the Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris, pp.58,
  5. ^ Hugh Miles, 2005. Al-Jazeera: The Inside Story of the Arab News Channel that is Challenging the West. New York: Grove Press, p.347,
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Tutwiler's mission impossible
  8. ^ According to [1], a tabloid-style website unrelated to the original Pravda, "Al Jazeera received $20,000 per minute for Bin Laden's speech."
  9. ^ Al-Jazeera - "The opinion, and the other opinion" - Sustaining a Free Press in the Middle EastPDF (966 KiB) by Kahlil Byrd and Theresse Kawarabayashi; MIT's Media in Transition 3; published 2 May-4, 2003
  10. ^ "Arabic in Graphic Design: Al Jazeera's Cartouche". Fight.Boredom. Cloudjammer Creative Network. 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  11. ^ a b c 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)
  12. ^ a b c El-Nawawy and Iskandar. Al-Jazeera: How the free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East. Westview.  cf. Further reading
  13. ^ The Minotaur of 'Contextual Objectivity': War coverage and the pursuit of accuracy with appeal
  14. ^ BBC in news deal with Arabic TV BBC News, published 17 January 2003
  15. ^ a b 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
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Al Jazeera and Bin Laden
  18. ^ Al Jazeera turns its signal West
  19. ^ Is Al Jazeera alternative? Mainstream alterity and Assimilating discourses of dissent
  20. ^ Audience Demographics and Viewership Profile
  21. ^ Release:We break 100million barrier
  22. ^ Al-Jazeera English gets CRTC approval
  23. ^ Al Jazeera TV Footprint - Coverage
  24. ^ Al Jazeera Youtube Channel
  25. ^ Livestation | Watch Al Jazeera English on your PC
  26. ^ Elisha Brothers convictedPDF (63.1 KiB)
  27. ^ a b Al Jazeera and the Net - free speech, but don't say that by John Lettice; The Register; published Monday, 7 April 2003
  28. ^ Benenson, Fred (2009-01-13). "Al Jazeera Launches Creative Commons Repository". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  29. ^ Steuer, Eric (2009-01-13). "Al Jazeera Announces Launch of Free Footage Under Creative Commons License". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  30. ^ Cohen, Noam (2009-01-11). "Al Jazeera provides an inside look at Gaza conflict". Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  31. ^ "Al Jazeera Announces Launch of Free Footage under Creative Commons License". Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  32. ^ Andrews, Robert (2009-11-14). "Al Jazeera Offers Creative Commons Video, Lessig Lends Backing". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  33. ^ Ito, Joi (2009-01-14). "Al Jazeera Launches Creative Commons Repository". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  34. ^ Al Jazeera plans to launch Arab newspaper Arabian Business; published Saturday 4, November 2006
  35. ^ RSF strongly condemns ban on al-Jazeera
  36. ^ Al-Jazeera closed in West Bank
  37. ^ AP: Ban on Al-Jazeera operations in West Bank lifted
  38. ^ a b Al-Jazeera Kabul offices hit in US raid
  39. ^ The Man Who Sold the War by James Bamford; Rolling Stone; published 17 November 2005
  40. ^ a b c Al-Jazeera: News channel in the news BBC News; published Saturday, 29 March 2003
  41. ^ a b "CRS Report for Congress". US State Department. p. 7. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  42. ^ a b "Metro Matters; Censorship Is Patriotism To Big Board". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  43. ^ Al Jazeera banned from NYSE floor at Arab Press Freedom Watch
    Al Jazeera ousted from NYSE (25 March 2003
  44. ^ Al Jazeera banned from two Wall Street exchanges (26 March 2003)
  45. ^ "Al Jazeera Denied Akamai Services". MIT. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  46. ^ Al-Jazeera 'hit by missile'
  47. ^ U.S. Bombing Raid Kills Three Journalists in Baghdad
  48. ^ The war on al-Jazeera Comment by Dima Tareq Tahboub, the widow of Tareq Ayyoub, The Guardian, 4 October 2003
  49. ^ Under Pressure, Qatar May Sell Jazeera Station, New York Times, 30 January 2005
  50. ^
  51. ^ Did the US murder these Journalists? by Robert Fisk; SF Bay Guardian; published 26 April 2003
  52. ^ Al-Jazeera hacker pleads guilty BBC News; published Friday, 13 June 2003
  53. ^ Al-Jazeera websites 'hit by hackers' by Dominic Timms; Guardian Unlimited; published Wednesday, 26 March 2003
  54. ^ Al-Jazeera cracker charged by John Leyden; The Register; published Thursday, 12 June 2003
  55. ^ 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
  56. ^ Al Jazeera under fire
  57. ^ 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 survey analysis documentPDF (39.1 KiB)).
  58. ^ Anderson Cooper 360 on Al Jazeera International
  59. ^ a b Rumsfeld blames Al Jazeera over Iraq
  60. ^ Was George Bush serious about attack on Al Jazeera?
  61. ^ by Brent Bozell at 12.30 ET during the Fox Online program (YouTube video)
  62. ^ The Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Wednesday 30 November 2005
  63. ^ Bahrain bans Al Jazeera TV
  64. ^ CPJ News Alert - Missing journalist's wife demands more information
  65. ^ Militia dig in as fighting rages in holy city The Sydney Morning Herald; published 9 August 2004
  66. ^ Iraqi Government Shuts Al-Jazeera Station by Rawya Rageh; Associated Press; published 7 August 2004
  67. ^ Iraq extends al-Jazeera ban and raids offices by Luke Harding; The Guardian; published Monday 6 September 2004
  68. ^ Al-Jazeera Under Fire: IFJ Condemns Iraqi Ban and Canada’s “Bizarre” Restrictions International Federation of Journalists; published 6 September 2004
  69. ^ "US accused of using neutron bombs"
  70. ^ Secret Dubai diary: into exile
  71. ^ [2]
  72. ^ [3]
  73. ^ [4]
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^ Al-Jazeera Arrest CNN; published 5 September 2003
  77. ^ Spanish judge orders Al-Jazeera reporter to jail by Mar Roman; Associated Press; published Thursday, September 11, 2003
  78. ^ Aljazeera reporter placed in detention Al Jazeera; published Wednesday, 19 January 2005
  79. ^ Special Reports - Taysir Alluni Al Jazeera
  80. ^ A fight for justice - Al Jazeera
  81. ^ e.g. Al Jazeera journalist re-arrested 10 days before trial verdict
  82. ^ World and America watching different wars Christian Science Monitor
  83. ^ Colin Powell, news conference with Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Thani, 3 October 2001, Washington D.C.
  84. ^ FAIR (December 2001). "Patriotism & Censorship:"Reining in" journalism". 
  85. ^ "Qatar Advances Plans To Privatize Al-Jazeera". Washington Post. January 31, 2005. 
  86. ^ Casey Kauffman (13 Oct 08). "Misconceptions of Obama fuel Republican campaign - 13 Oct 08". Al Jazeera. 
  87. ^ a b Tony Burman, Managing Director of Al Jazeera English (2008-10-24). "Letter to The Washington Post". 
  88. ^ a b Colbert I. King (October 18, 2008). "A Rage No One Should Be Stoking". 
  89. ^ 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
  90. ^ North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea the worst violators of press freedom
  91. ^ Sami Al Haj - Petition - Reporters Sans Frontieres
  92. ^ More news is good news at New Age BD
  93. ^ "In an Al-Jazeera TV Program on Palestinian Terrorist Dalal Al-Mughrabi, Al-Mughrabi's Sister Salutes Jerusalem Bulldozer Terrorist". MEMRI. July 8, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  94. ^
  95. ^ Wide Angle - Exclusive to Al Jazeera
  96. ^ "Al-Jazeera, An Arab Voice for Freedom or Demagoguery? The UNC Tour"
  97. ^ Ibn Rushd prize 1999
  98. ^ Index: Free speaking voices in the wilderness
  99. ^ The Webby Awards
  100. ^ Apple bites big
  101. ^ Attacks on the Press - 2004: Mideast
  102. ^ Profile: Al Arabiya TV
    Shock over Iraqi reporter's death
  103. ^ Time for the Last Hurrah for US' Al-Hurra
  104. ^ BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | BBC launches Arabic TV channel
  105. ^ Lyngsat page showing, among others, Al Jazeera's channels
    Lyngsat page showing Qatari TV channels, including Al Jazeera's

Further reading

  • Abdul-Mageed, M. M. (2008). Online News Sites and Journalism 2.0: Reader Comments on Al Jazeera Arabic. TripleC: Cognition, Communication, Co-operation, 6(2), 59-76. Abstract and full article:
  • 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), Public diplomacy, television news, and Muslim opinionPDF (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 (Italian), Bruno Mondadori, ISBN 8-8424-9282-5
  • 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
  • Augusto Valeriani (2005), Il giornalismo arabo, (Italian) Roma, Carocci ISBN 8843032801

External links

Note that the websites and are not affiliated with Al Jazeera.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



Arabic الجزيرة (al-jazíra), The Peninsula)

Proper noun

Al Jazeera


Al Jazeera

  1. A satellite television news channel that broadcasts in English and Arabic from Qatar.



Simple English

Al Jazeera
File:Al Jazeera Offices, Kuala
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

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.



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

  • Al Jazeera Sports
an Arabic Sports channel started in 2003

  • Al Jazeera Sports +1
started in 2004

  • Al Jazeera Sports +2

  • Al Jazeera Sports +3

  • Al Jazeera Sports +4

  • Al Jazeera Sports HD

  • Al Jazeera Mobasher (or Al Jazeera Live)
a politics channel (similar to C-SPAN or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences started in 2005

  • Al Jazeera Children's Channel (aka JCC)
a children's channel started in 2005

  • Al Jazeera English
a global English 24h news channel started in 2006

  • Al Jazeera Documentary Channel
an Arabic documentary channel started in 2007


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.


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.


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


  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). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "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

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