Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Al Jazeera finally broadcast in the USA

A February 2nd announcement by US cable distributer LINK TV signialled the first time an American cable company has temporary provided Al Jazeera English on its free packages in the wake of the protests in Egypt and Tunisia. Al Jazeera has steadily been recieving priase from American journalists for its in depth coverage in the region, however, many of the USA's satellite and cable providers have been reluctant to provide Al Jazeera in their systems.

In spite of 55% of web traffic to Al Jazeera's webiste coming from the USA and Cananda, American cable providers fear a potential backlash from the right is they were to carry the channel. Former NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker suggested that right-leaning media in the USA would campaign against providers who would issue Al Jazeera. The hostility to the Qatar based channel is hangover from the days of the Bush administration, when it was repeatedly criticised by the US government for its covergae of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera has stepped up its lobbying efforts to get Al Jazeera English broadcast in the USA, but as yet as been unable to find a distributer who will carry it permanently.

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