Based in the tiny Gulf state of
Qatar, al-Jazeera began broadcasting in 1996. Initially, many
of its staff were recruited from the BBC which had launched an
Arabic TV channel a couple of years earlier, only to close it
down as a result of censorship attempts by Saudi Arabia, which
controlled the relevant satellite.
Although funded by the Qatari government,
al-Jazeera was given (in Arab terms) an unprecedented measure
of editorial freedom. The professionalism of its news
coverage, plus studio discussions which raised many
previously-taboo issues, soon won it a huge audience in the
to attract widespread attention in the west in 2001. It was
the only TV station with a permanent 24-hour satellite link to
Kabul during the Afghan war and its exclusive footage was used
by many western channels. It also became famous (or notorious)
for broacasting videotaped messages from al-Qaida leaders.
Al-Jazeera's bureau in Kabul was bombed by
the US during the Afghan war, as was its bureau in Baghdad
during the US-led invasion of Iraq. It was later reported that
President Bush had wanted to bomb al-Jazeera's
headquarters in Qatar too, but had been discouraged from doing
so by the British prime minister, Tony Blair.
Despite the hostility of the Bush
administration towards it, al-Jazeera's historical role in
promoting the free flow of information and opening up
political debate in the Middle East is diffcult to
The English-language sister channel, al-Jazeera
English, began broadcasting on 15 November, 2006. Its
programmes can be viewed online via the channel's website.
In Arabic "al-jazeera" means
"the island" - a term also used to refer to the
Arabian peninsula. Some say the TV station's name refers more
specifically to its home country, Qatar, which is itelf a
peninsula attached to the Arabian peninsula.
The distinctive gold logo is said to
resemble a droplet of water. Its calligraphic
design spells "al-Jazeera" in Arabic. The logo,
which has become one of the world's most widely recognised
brand labels, was chosen by the emir of Qatar as the winning
entry in a design competition. It was reputedly designed in 20
minutes by a Qatari man who heard about the competition on his
The news channel's official website in Arabic. Also in English.
(This is not to be confused with several similarly-named websites,
which have no connection with the TV station.)
General information from Wikipedia
Website seeking "to dispel the myths that al-Jazeera is
some sort of evil, violence-advocating, democracy hindering
force in the Middle-East".
news, different perspective
The Guardian, February 06 2006
Presidential Room 5, Sheraton Hotel, Doha.
The doyen of chatshow hosts has just flown in to Qatar and for
once it is his turn to face the interviewers' questions. Hello
and welcome to Sir David Frost.
has made news in Arabic ... now it hopes to make its mark in
The Guardian, September 02 2004
The Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera,
denounced and bombed by the US and banned by the Iraqi
government, has begun recruiting staff for a channel in
English that will show news and documentaries.
The Guardian, July 22 2004
Just before the war in Iraq, when
journalists were rushing off to become embedded with the
military, Jehane Noujaim, an Arab- American film director,
decided to embed herself among journalists. She arrived with a
couple of mini-DV cameras in Qatar ...
at US as attacks kill three journalists
The Guardian, April 09 2003
The Arab satellite television channel
al-Jazeera is to pull its reporters out of Iraq after one of
them was killed during a US air raid on Baghdad.
causes outcry with broadcast of battle casualties
The Guardian, March 24 2003
Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite channel
which angered the United States with its coverage of the
Afghan war, has caused a new furore by broadcasting
blood-and-guts images from the invasion of Iraq.
The Guardian, February 07 2003
The show is over for another week and
Faisal al-Qassem, the hottest property in Arab television,
emerges from the basement studio with his guests. There is no
hospitality suite at al-Jazeera television, so he commandeers
the editor-in-chief's office, where there is just about enough
room for three people to spread out and relax. Someone enters
with a tray of coffee, trips and spills it.
The Guardian, October 09 2001
As the bombs fell on Afghanistan on Sunday
night, Mohammed Kicham, the Qatar-based anchorman of
al-Jazeera television, was talking to camera when a voice came
through his earpiece. "Mohammed," it said,
"you're now on CNN... and BBC...
sweet and sour success of al-Jazeera
Why al-Jazeera's impact is so powerful. By Abdallah Schleifer,
TBS Journal No 7, 2001
age of new media
The role of al-Jazeera in developing aspects of civil society in Qatar.
By Dr. Ali al-Hail, TBS Journal No 4, 2000.
with Mohammed Jasim al-Ali
Managing director of al-Jazeera. 2001. Also interview in 2000
with Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani
Chairman of al-Jazeera. 2001
the free Arab news network scooped the world and changed the
with Mohammed el-Nawawy and Adel Iskander Farag. Carnegie
Council on Ethics & International Affairs
History and technical information from Allied Media
A historical account by Naomi Sakr
Shawn Powers, University of Southern California Center on
before midnight at al-Jazeera
Kramer, October 2002
al- Jazeera livens up Arab TV scene
BBC, 7 January 1999