Al-Jazeera news channel, which has changed the face of Arab television reporting by breaking taboos, is set to extend its controversial reach to English-speaking audiences as it marks its 10th anniversary tomorrow. Its second decade will see the repeatedly delayed launch of the English-language Al-Jazeera International on 15 November, one of the station’s directors, Mahmud Shamam, told AFP today.
The maverick Arabic channel, which began broadcasting in 1996 with staff largely drawn from the BBC’s short-lived Arabic television, is looking to a promising future “since the will, the money and the expertise are all there,” according to its editor-in-chief, Ahmad al-Sheikh.
Al Jazeera International, whose launch was initially planned for 2005, but had to be put off partly for technical reasons, will transmit from four regional broadcast centers in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington. Al Jazeera, often dubbed “the Arab CNN,” will also start a pan-Arab newspaper, based also in Doha, sources in the network said without specifying a launch date.
The upcoming launch of Al Jazeera International begs the question of whether the Arabic and English channels will both follow the same editorial policy. “Al Jazeera International’s audience will be different from ours, but we will coordinate our editorial policy through daily meetings in order to agree on, among others, controversial terms such as “martyrs’, “terrorism’ and “resistance’ in the coverage of regional conflicts,” said Sheikh.