Magazine article New Internationalist

Al-Jazeera

Magazine article New Internationalist

Al-Jazeera

Article excerpt

The independent satellite television network Al-Jazeera sprang to world attention following the 11 September attacks and the US bombing of Afghanistan. The rather lengthy subtitle to this book accurately summarizes its history; `How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East'.

Al-Jazeera, which means `the Island' or `the Peninsula', is based in Doha and was set up in 1996 by Qatar's progressive Emir, Sheikh Hamad, who continues to provide a subsidy of $100 million per year. The channel, modelled on the BBC, has gained a reputation for being first with breaking news and for providing an unprecedented forum for wide-ranging and unfettered debate. It concentrates on serious news, documentaries and discussion programmes, in sharp contrast with the vapid entertainment and misinformation purveyed by official channels and compliant media outlets in the Arab world. …

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