U.S. media is reporting that the English language channel of Al-Jazeera is about to being carried in New York City for the first time. According to a New York Times report:
(August 1, 2011) CNN had the gulf war. Fox News had the war on terror. And Al Jazeera English had the Arab Spring. But six months after widespread protests erupted in the Middle East, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera has not gained distribution on any major cable or satellite systems in the United States. The channel’s supporters say they feel it has been blacklisted; the distributors say they have to contend with limited channel space. Undeterred, Al Jazeera English executives say they are making headway. On Monday, the channel will be carried in New York City for the first time, though only by subletting space from a channel owner. The channel has a foothold in Washington through a similar arrangement. “We will get on in the U.S.,” Al Anstey, the channel’s managing director, said confidently in an interview in Manhattan, where he came late last week to celebrate the carriage deal. Al Jazeera English was lauded by the United States government and even by a few competitors for its broadcasts from Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries earlier this year. But it is finding out that cable and satellite distributors like Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network wield an enormous amount of control over the channels that viewers in the United States can and cannot see. “It’s all about leverage in this business, and they don’t have any,” said Paul Maxwell, the head of a cable industry consulting firm.
Read the rest here.
An earlier post discussed the Washington, D.C. launch of the Al-Jazeera English on July 2, 20009. Another post provided extensive detail on the Muslim Brotherhood and possible Hamas background of Al Jazeera’s director general, Wadah Khanfar as well as the influence of the Brotherhood at the station in general.