Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Al Jazeera English Launches


INTRO: Al Jazeera International (aka: Al Jazeera English) launches Nov. 15, 2006. Al Jazeera is bankrolled from the Emir of Qatar's vast fortune and will remain free from commercial sponsorship or advertiser concerns. Therefore, expect more graphic and controversial content than what Western audiences are accustom to.

BIG NAME REPORTERS: Senior British journalist Sir David Frost (BBC), the only person to have interviewed the last seven US presidents and the last six British prime ministers. Frost will interview UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on the first day the channel launches. Frost says he investigated al-Jazeera with his own high-level contacts in Whitehall and Washington to make sure it had no terrorist connection before signing to work for them.

The other big name reporter will be Josh Rushing, a former United States Marine Captain who was a press officer for United States Central Command during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He became famous for his appearance in the documentary Control Room, which documented his conversations with Al Jazeera correspondent Hassan Ibrahim. After the Pentagon ordered him not to comment on the movie he left the Marine Corps and signed up with Al Jazeera.

HOW TO WATCH IN THE USA: The best way to watch the channel will be through a live broadband stream from it's website. The website will also offer RSS feeds, e-mail newsletters and interactive discussion boards. No major US cable company is brave enough to broadcast the channel just yet. It was revealed that the US cable network Comcast had pulled out of talks to carry the channel, citing lack of capacity.

In the US it will be available to customers of GlobeCast, the subsidiary of a French company that offers satellite TV service costing around $300 (€230) to install. Other companies include Fision, a digital service that will be available shortly in Houston; Jump TV, which describes itself as "the world's leading broadcaster of ethnic TV over the Internet; and www.VDC.com, a service that offers TV on the Internet to about 10,000 customers in the U.S.

You may view a list of all channels within every country that will carry Al Jazeera English (aka: platforms). The channel claims it will be the first global high-definition television network.

BROADCAST BUREAUS: The entire news company's headquarters are in Doha, Qatar but the English channel will have 4 broadcast centers (Doha, Kuala Lumpur, D.C., London) and 20 supporting bureaus.

Sources: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/15/arts/NA_A-E_TV_US_Al_Jazeera_English.php ; http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1948048,00.html ; http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6BB60A7B-C169-4762-87ED-415752862B5E.htm ; http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_2030002,00.html ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera_International ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Rushing

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