Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera (literally, ‘The Island,’ referring to the Arabian Peninsula) is an international news network headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel with the same name, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. The original Al Jazeera channel’s willingness to broadcast dissenting views, for example on call-in shows, created controversies in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The station gained worldwide attention following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when it was the only channel to cover the war in Afghanistan live from its office there.

The original Al Jazeera channel was started in 1996 by an emiri decree with a loan of 500 million Qatari riyals (US$137 million) from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa. By its funding through loans or grants rather than direct government subsidies, the channel claims to maintain independent editorial policy. Much of the staff came from the BBC World Service’s Saudi-co-owned Arabic language TV station, which had shut down after two years of operation because of censorship demands by the Saudi Arabian government.

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