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'Al Jazeera English' goes on air

UNI
Nov 17, 2006 at 02:19pm IST

Dubai: 'Al Jazeera English', the new international news channel from Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera, has begun the broadcast from its main studios in Doha, purportedly aiming to provide an alternative to the world news from Western channels like CNN and BBC.

The channel, however, did not get an unqualified welcome in the GCC.

Writing in the widely circulated Saudi daily Arab News, Rasheed Abou-Alsamh, said ''I personally found that news (from Al Jazeera) irrelevant and boring. There wasn't a peep in the news about the US generals talking about the possible redeployment of the US troops in Iraq, a story that I'm sure many more viewers would have been interested in hearing.''

GLOBAL CHANNEL: Al Jazeera has broadcast centres at Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington.

''Despite these initial drawbacks, all in all Al Jazeera International looks like it will be a success, a channel to turn to when you want a different slant on your news,'' he said in a tongue-in-cheek comment.

The opening broadcast, which is expected to be available in 80 million households around the world, started featuring a clip introducing the channel.

Aiming to be the channel of reference for West Asian events, Al Jazeera also has broadcast centres at Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington.

Al Jazeera, backed by the Qatar government, which celebrated its tenth anniversary on November 1, has revolutionised news media in the Arab world and has also provoked controversy.

Wadah Khanfar, the Director-General of Al Jazeera network, said, ''No other international news channel has launched with such a high number of homes across the world.''

In addition to cable and satellite network, it will be available on broadband, IPTV, ADSL, terrestrial and mobile phone platforms.

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