23 June 2008

al-Jazeera cable news debate in Vermont

The English al-Jazeera news channel, headquartered in Qatar, is, with the BBC World and CNN International, one of the three largest English-language news channels in the world, reaching over 100 million households.

However, it is generally not available (except via satellite) in the United States, because cable companies refuse to include it. One exception is the cable company in Burlington, Vermont, which is owned by the community itself. Now some people are demanding that al-Jazeera be dropped from the cable menu. Burlington has been holding public debates and discussions on the topic, and so far the preponderance of opinion is to retain the channel.

Embedded above is a television report on the controversy in Burlington - as covered by al-Jazeera itself.

(credit to Neatorama)


  1. As the Cable Advisory Committee probes if having Al Jazeera English brings any value to Burlington viewers, it may look at how the jury at two presigious media awards recently looked at AJE's merits and demerits.

    Al Jazeera English has excelled at the 17th Amnesty International UK Media Awards announced in London on 17th June . The awards recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism's significant contribution to the UK public's awareness and understanding of human rights issues. In the category of International television and radioAl Jazeera English's entry "The lost tribe - Secret army of the CIA" was declared the winner.

    The other two contestants short-listed were:
    Assignment: Louisiana burning, BBC World Service

    Inside Myanmar - the crackdown, Al Jazeera English.

    Those serving on the Amnesty's panel of judges for entries in the category of International television and radio were Mike Blakemore, Katherine Butler, Tim Marshall, Naresh Puri and Tim Singleton.

    It may be recalled that on 10th June 2008, the award for “Best 24 Hour News Program” at the 48th Monte Carlo Television Festival conferred upon Al Jazeera English is not an aberration, but, one in a series of accomplishments scored by a news channel launched only in November 2006. The award recognized Al Jazeera English’s “extensive international reach and efforts to dig deeper to give its international audience a richer understanding of the events that affect their lives.” Al Jazeera English beat entries from BBC News, Sky News, Lisboa TV and the Phoenix Satellite Television Company to take home the award.

    Even a cursory glance at AJE’s accomplishments since its launch Al Jazeera English has proved it to be a unique news channel, winning a number of nominations in recognition of its professional quality and technical accomplishments. This also shows AJE’s potential to set new standards in the coming years:

    Al Jazeera English's Far East Correspondent Hamish Macdonald won Royal Television Society''s Young Journalist of the Year Award for 2007 while it’s Africa correspondent Haru Mutasa was also among the three nominees.

    Al Jazeera English was nominated for news channel of the year in its first year of broadcasting and was up against BBC News 24 and 2006’s winner Sky News. The awards were presented on 20 February 2008 at a ceremony at the London Hilton, hosted by ITV News at Ten’s Julie Etchingham. Over all, Aljazeera English won Royal Television Society Television Journalism Award nominations in the following categories: News - International Afghanistan: Taliban Embed - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English News Channel of the Year Al Jazeera English Young Journalist of the Year Hamish Macdonald - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English Haru Mutasa - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English.

    At the 12th Asian Television 2007 Awards, it won the award for Best Single News/Report (Kylie Grey, Orange) Environment Special, and came runners-up for Best news programme Half Hour Bulletin-from Kula Lumpur.

    Additionally, Al Jazeera English has won three awards at the BDA World Gold Awards. AJE was presented with three Bronze trophies at the 2007 PROMAX & BDA International Conference in New York 14 June 2007 in the categories of Art Direction & Design: Topical Campaign

    An even-handed approach to judge a news channel is to look at its demerits and merits. Are there some commentators overwhelmed by an urge to become an executioner before even pretending to be judge and jury? In Aljazeera’s case, many critics with a disposition to dismiss everything new, haste to pass a judgement prior to looking at it sufficiently enough and objectively enough.

  2. Thanks, purplexed, for adding that information.


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