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October 31, 2005

Al Jazeera to Debut in English

Al Jazeera logo

The International Herald Tribune reports today that next year Al Jazeera will open a new channel, Al Jazeera International, an English network which will be marketed to cable and satellite distributors around the world.

What are the start-up's challenges? According to the IHT:

But Al Jazeera's approach complicates the job of selling the English-language service to broadcast outlets and potential advertisers. Only days after the [international trade] convention in Cannes, the Arabic-language channel broadcast a videotape from Osama bin Laden's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the latest in a series of videos from Qaeda leaders shown on Al Jazeera. A Spanish court recently convicted one of the channel's reporters of collaborating with the terrorist organization, a decision that the broadcaster is appealing.

Yes, I suppose terrorist ties might put a dent in sales. But, to offset that disadvantage, Al Jazeera International has brought in prominent Western figures to make the network more "palatable" to Western consumption. They are David Frost, a veteran BBC reporter; CNN anchor Riz Khan; reporter David Foster of Sky News; and Josh Rushing, a former U.S. military spokesman in the current Iraq war.

Will these window dressings adopt the Al Jazeera policy of calling Palestinian terrorists who blow up innocent Israeli civilians "martyrs"? Stay tuned to find out.

Posted by TS at October 31, 2005 04:36 AM

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