Al Jazeera looks West
Tomorrow sees the launch of “Al Jazeera English”, the international offshoot of the best known Middle Eastern broadcaster.
It’s been a rocky launch and has taken them a year longer than planned, causing untold costs as many of their staff were hired back in 2005. They’ve lost their distributor in the United States and today they announced a last-minute rebrand. They were originally to be known as Al Jazeera International, but it was noted the Arabic version isn’t exactly domestic in its outlook.
I’m looking forward to the channel launching though. AJE, as I’m sure it will be known, could well get similar viewers to CNN, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it beating BBC World fairly soon. Their only problem might be distribution in hotels where CNN and the BBC have a long history of dominance. But they’re well resourced and have poached a number of well-known faces from the BBC and elsewhere – most notably the Beeb’s Darren Jordon and Rageh Omaar.
Al Jazeera’s been criticised many times in the past for being too close to terrorism, but much of the time it’s little more than a caricature. All I can suggest is that people turn to Sky channel 514 tomorrow or watch online, and see for themselves.