Al Jazeera launches in English

aljazeeraArab TV network Al Jazeera launched an English-language service yesterday that, inevitably, attracted criticisms in the US and elsewhere where some see the station purely as a mouthpiece for Osama Bin Laden.

The station has consistently denied any such linkage, according to a BBC report.

Whatever anyone’s perception is of Al Jazeera, there’s no doubt that the station has significant influence today, not only in the Arabic-speaking world:

[...] Two years ago, al-Jazeera was named in the global InterBrand survey as the world’s most influential media brand and the fifth most influential in any field, after Apple, Google, Ikea and Starbucks.

That’s some recognition. And there’s more.

It will be interesting to see how Al Jazeera progresses with this venture when the notions of free speech and democracy in the Arab world are too often seen in Western eyes as an oxymoron. Here’s how they describe themselves with this new service:

Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Broadcasting from within the Middle East, looking outwards, Al Jazeera English will set the news agenda and act as a bridge between cultures.

That’s an outstanding objective. And take a look at the station’s code of ethics. Remarkable.

In addition to cable and satellite, you can receive Al Jazeera English on broadband, IPTV, ADSL, terrestrial and mobile phone platforms.