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?