Al-Jazeera Launches U.S.-Based News Channel

by Liane Membis

al-jazeera

Get ready for a bit more diversity in your television news line-up.

The Al-Jazeera Media Network has announced that it will be launching a new U.S-based news channel for American audiences. The network, which provides global news from a Middle Eastern perspective, recently acquired Current TV and will begin to air its English-language news programming in 2013.

To support this venture and the network’s growth, Al-Jazeera headquarters for the news channel will be based in New York. They also plan to open bureaus in key cities, such as Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, throughout the United States. The launch is a historic development for the 16-year-old media company.

“For many years, we understood that we could make a positive contribution to the news and information available in and about the United States and what we are announcing today will help us achieve that goal,” Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said. “By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the U.S., as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America.”

The network says that their reason for starting a U.S.-based news channel is because they have seen a large demand from the American audience for the media company’s news coverage. According to Al-Jazeera, almost 40 percent of all online viewing of Al-Jazeera English comes from the United States.

“U.S. viewers have clearly demonstrated that they like the way Al-Jazeera provides compelling, in-depth news to audiences across the world,” the company’s Director General said. “Our commitment to the voice of the voiceless, bringing stories from under-reported regions across the world and putting the human being at the center of our news agenda is at the heart of what we do.”

Some people have already begun expressing their distaste over the network’s move. Various people took to Twitter to begin a #CurrentAlJazeeraShowPitches trend as a means of showcasing what some have found to be direct and offensive racism towards the Middle-Eastern community. Some of the show pitches tweeted were, “16 and Pregnant and Murdered,” “How I Met Your Mullah,” and “Real Submissive Housewives of the Middle East.”

What are your reactions about Al-Jazeera’s U.S. launch?

  • kissofdanger

    This is good news. I watch Al Jazeera alot.

  • Anthony

    I have an Al Jazeera ap on my phone and tablet. It will be great to seem them on cable too.

  • Deb

    Al Jazeera is amazing…they report news from all over the world, their documentaries are in depth and eye opening to communites and groups that are otherwise completely ignored…it’s great. Yes they have strong biases in news coverage that I do not agree with but compared to the likes of news sources (including BBC news world which I don’t care for anymore), they are light years ahead in terms of coverage. The only other TV news company I’d say is on their level is Russian Today News.

    The idiots writing on that hashtag have obviously never WATCHED the channel. They probably get their news from CNN, MSNBC or Fox News and consider themselves informed when it’s so US centric and even then, barely report in depth news. It’s sad. The worldwide view of the majority of americans being ignorant is TRUE. I hope this channel becomes widely available and it helps americans wake up what’s REALLY happening in the world.

  • Tallulah Belle

    Well, you won’t see Al-Jazeera in NY, or probably most of the US, if Time Warner and Comcast drop them off their “must carry” line up. Time Warner, which is dominant in NY, has already done so and as far as I know, Comcast’s legal department is scrambling for a loophole to do the same. So, enjoy it while it lasts — which won’t be very long. A Pan-Arab international news station will not be permitted to hang on long in the US no matter how large it is or who it is owned by (in this case the entire deep-pocketed country of Qatar).

  • Anthony

    It’s so sad. The people trying to keep the masses from seeing Al Jazeera watch it every day themselves.

  • Ro

    I’ll miss Current TVs documentaries

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.kimber.1 Stephanie Kimber

    I am so excited by this move!

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    Al Jazeera already had a U.S. news channel but cable operators wouldn’t carry it.

  • THe Comment

    as a SF Bay Native…..I’ll miss current TV. I know Al Jazeera provides excellent global coverage. Just wish it wasn’t at the expense of a local network who needed time to get their act right. Where else will I see that fine white man aka Lt. Gen Gavin Newsom in action.

  • Anthony

    I guess he looks so good you can’t get his title right. He is Lt. Governor, not General, I believe.

  • Anthony

    The thing that kills me is folks who plant their butts in front of TVs carrying Fox News complain about Al Jazeera being biased.

  • Anthony

    Independent news is a fantasy. Everyone who broadcasts has a bias. Recognize the bias and be an intelligent consumer of news.

  • Anthony

    I enjoy Al Jazeera for its pro Arab view of Middle East politics. Frankly, I don’t have a dog in that fight, but it is good to hear more than one side. Al Jazeera also has been good for information on the situation in Northern Mali and the Rohinjya situation in Myanmar.

  • LemonNLime

    YES! I the only news I watch is international …RT, Al Jazeera, BBC, NHK, France 24, The Journal, etc. because what constitutes news in the US is ridiculous. I would love an Al Jazeera network but I’m sure Comcast will eff it up, thank God for MHZ.

  • Cice

    I have twin sons getting ready to graduate from high school in May so on Saturday and Sunday mornings its Al Jazeera, NHK, RT and CCTV time. I want my kids to have a better understanding of whats going on globally. These channels have helped my kids see the world differently and have also given them a better view of Africa and the different things that are going on in African countries apart from famine and wars. These are things that they would not have known from watching network news alone.

  • apple

    i hope this doesn’t change The Young Turks programming

  • Anthony

    Cice, I’ve got to do the same thing for my daughters!

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