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A new channel arrives

Richard Porter | 10:16 UK time, Wednesday, 15 November 2006

At midday today (GMT), the international television news market is joined by a new name - al-Jazeera English. A few days ago it was going to be called al-Jazeera International but for some unexplained reason it's changed at the last minute.

BBC World logoEither way, AJI - or AJE as we now know it - looks like it's going to be a serious competitor for the two established global channels, BBC World and CNN. They have put together an extensive network of correspondents and bureau, and have invested heavily in four broadcast centres in different parts of the world. And they are making some grand claims about how they intend to bring a new perspective to the market. They're going to be reporting the south to the north, they say. They won't follow the traditional agenda.

I welcome their arrival. Competition is good in any market, and certainly since we've known the date of their launch, we've been looking at our own programme plans for this period to make sure we'll be looking our best.

We've also been asking ourselves some tough questions about our own agenda. For example, although we're proud of our British heritage, we don't aim to cover British news - unless it has some international significance or resonance. So today, 20 minutes before the new channel goes on air, Queen Elizabeth will be delivering her annual speech to Parliament, in which she sets out the Government's proposed legislation for the coming year. Do we carry live coverage, in the knowledge that nothing could be more British than the Queen surrounded by all that pomp and ceremony? Or do we say "There's no international significance... it's not for us?" The answer is we will carry it because it's actually one of the more important set-piece events of the year, and because The Queen will be addressing significant issues such as security, migration, and climate change, all of which have a resonance to the viewers around the globe who get their news from BBC World.

Today though we'll also be carrying extensive coverage of the Nairobi summit on climate change, with reports from the conference itself supported by background reporting from our correspondents in Africa. We have a very powerful piece from Fergal Keane on the effects of climate change on the Turkana tribe in Kenya. Much as I respect al-Jazeera's ambition to shed new light on some parts of the southern hemisphere, it would be unfair to say they have a monopoly in doing so. We have correspondents throughout Africa (indeed we also have many in the Middle East, al-Jazeera's home territory). And we think it's important to reflect events and opinions in these parts of the world, as much as we do the events in Brussels or Moscow or Washington.

Al-Jazeera English staff prepare in their Doha news room in QatarWhere we appear to depart from al-Jazeera is in our attitudes to reporting what happens in the West. One of their London correspondents says in an interview today he won't attend briefings at Downing Street because "that's typical of the Western way of doing TV News where you take something seriously simply because a big statesman is saying things."

That can't be right can it? I think it's wrong not to challenge and test what people in power have said, but you can't dismiss it simply because they've said it. It's an important part of our role to explain events in the most powerful countries in the world.

But now you have your own chance to judge. We'll be trying to show that the range and depth of journalism, and our ability to present all sides of the story will be qualities which audiences still greatly value. CNN and AJE (as well as Russia Today and the soon-to-be-launched France 24 and Press of Iran), will be promoting their strengths. And at midday today we'll all be able to make our own judgements.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 11:27 AM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Simon Cooke wrote:

I didn't think AJ had a cat's chance in hell of getting any viewers. But, reading Richard's comments here, I think they have every chance of capturing a significant number of viewers.
The problem with the BBC is that you've forgotten that you're just supposed to report events, especially when it's occurring on foreign soil. The BBC simply doesn't have time to both analyse & report. The way your newscasters tripped over describing the recent US mid-term election is just 1 example of how inadequate you are. BTW, just a small tip: The US Senate is NEVER known as "The Upper House".
If you can do one of those things properly, then you'd be ok. That's why CNN is way ahead of you & I suspect AJ will in time as well.
Add to this the fact that the BBC is funded by the TV tax & therefore you're hamstrung by what you can & cannot do. Am I interested in the opening of parliament today & the Queen's speech? No. And given most of us are working today, I would be surprised if you got even 1 million people watching it.
Instead of worrying about AJ,CNN or others, I think a lot of introspection both for the BBC & UK would be a good thing.

Simon

People are curious to see what is Al Jazeera English. And that is going to be, as you say, a serious competitor for Bbc and Cnn. But only if will be a good tv.
Francesca Maria Bersani

  • 3.
  • At 11:45 AM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Well it should be an interesting contest, who can be more convincingly anti American, Al Jazeera International, France 24, or....BBC. I put my money on BBC. Not because they have any greater deep rooted animousity towards the US and its civilization (which they've referred to as an empire) than the others but because they have more experience and intimate knowledge of its subtleties and are well practiced in the art of creative distortion at a level of sophistication English speaking audiences are less likely to see through. BBC I pick you as the odds on favorite at least until the other guys have had a chance to catch up. Isn't it nice to know you are still number one?

  • 4.
  • At 12:25 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Chatura Ranaweera wrote:

Al Jazeera's strategy of not reporting something just becuase a leader said it, is truly inspiring. Day in day out, we are listening to absolute rubbish said by our leaders. The leaders have perfected the art of spin so that they say things with no meaning, and avoid giving straight answers to every possible question. And our media keeps repeating this rubbish knowing fully well that nothing said can be taken at face value. Somebody needs to break this up. If it is Al Jazeera, then so be it. I hope they succeed. What we need is some sort of a "counter spin" machine. Someone who ignores the rubbish that comes from the leaders' mouths and gives the underlying truth.

  • 5.
  • At 12:29 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • tom wrote:

here's Wikipedia on the United States senate:

"The exclusive powers enumerated to the Senate in the Constitution are regarded as more important than those exclusively enumerated to the House. As a result, the responsibilities of the Senate (the "upper house") are more extensive than those of the House of Representatives (the "lower house")." (my emphasis)

seems to me like it is actually referred to thusly.

  • 6.
  • At 12:34 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Kendrick Curtis wrote:

I think the real worry for a lot of people is that al-Jazeera will be "Fox News for the 'bad guys'".

  • 7.
  • At 12:36 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • K. El. wrote:

I very much look forward to watching them. I've always been intrigued and welcomed and their syle of reporting, namely "free". I think it shows their impartiality when both the US and Middle East countries condemn them. Why? Maybe they do not want another view of things getting out into the open, as it may undermide their agendas.

  • 8.
  • At 12:45 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • stephan wrote:

Hey, everybody seems to forget to tell us what distributer carries it (Sky, NTL, terrestrial, ... ?)
How are we supposed to make up our minds if no-one tells us how to get it?

  • 9.
  • At 12:47 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • ross wrote:

You should cover British news as the British Licence pays for you, why should we fund news for the rest of the world. I also agree with Mark, they couldn't be more anti-american then you are. I notice in your interactive guide to 9/11 it is now refereed to as a disater with no mention of terrorists or Muslim involvment.

  • 10.
  • At 12:49 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Ali Rashid wrote:

I think many TV stations came and went and the BBC is still around. Despite it shortcomings its still a source of legitimacy and the validity of any news is actually cross checked with that of the BBC. It lacks the exaggerations of Al-jazeera as an Arabic speaker I do still get my news from the BBC.

Comparing the BBC with CNN is utterly absurd even my American friends attest to that and their main source of news is none other than the BBC. A bit of flamboyance which is quite rampant with other TV stations is what the BBC might need.

Obviously we will be watching closely what Al-Jazeera English has to offer, but I think it will be fighting an uphill task for the simple fact that a major base of the BBC consumers happen to be within English speaking countries that share certain historical values with the British.

  • 11.
  • At 01:01 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Frank wrote:

Hey stephan

it's available on Sky in the UK - I know because I'm watching it now! I don't know about anything else..

I expect that ALJAZEERAH will receive the highest proportion watch universally because she's showing the truth and nothing but the truth and the thruth hurts and that's what is lacking the westren media.

  • 13.
  • At 01:07 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Franz Cooke wrote:

The market for a English version of AJ is already quite satisfied by the BBC.

  • 14.
  • At 01:09 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Graham Wood wrote:

I too am pleased that they will not waste time with listening to pointless comments from political leaders. There would be a point if journalists were willing to ask difficult, serious questions. But they are not, either because they are not able to or because they fear the consequences if they do.

The English speaking world needs the opportunity to see a different way of looking at the world. If the English version is as good as the Arabic one then Al J may do this. Who knows, they may even encourage the BBC reporters to come out of their box from time to time.

  • 15.
  • At 01:11 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Richard Eisner wrote:

Well I came here to find out how to tune into this channel not to speculate on whether it will be good or not. Speculation will not answer such a question but watching it will.

For me the name change to English is a good move, it will let us in the western world know that we do not have to rely on Bush, Blair (and even the Queen!) to interpret for us issues stemming from the middle east.

Perhaps also it will inform us as to what terrorists want. Personally I do not think that any terrorist wants us to change our way of life rather they want us to stop changing their way of life. Either way AJE offers us a chance for dialogue.

I found the link to tune in to AJE at:
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/91EEF363-FE1D-4EB9-A7D9-EF3701E39A3B.htm

For those in the UK we have it on Sky Digital channel 514. Not much use to me since im on cable so I will have to watch over the internet until ntl/Telewest provide it.

  • 16.
  • At 01:12 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • simon ward wrote:

"I welcome their arrival. Competition is good in any market..."

Hah! The BBC talking about market competition? If ever there was an organisation so far removed from market forces, and yet guaranteed so much money, I have yet to see it.

  • 17.
  • At 01:21 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Joe wrote:

I hope that Zooz your comments are not the style of debate we can look forward to on the new AJE.
I suppose that if the journalists of AJE will not be attending press conferences for Western Prime Ministers they will duplicate that by not attending press conferences from Mullahs etc?, If AJE is to become a successful brand in the West then it will need to prove that it is not western-phobic and as balanced in it's reporting of news events as it claims to be.
If it acheives this then it would be a step above anything we receive from the BBC.

  • 18.
  • At 01:34 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Matthew Pettitt wrote:

Only the BBC content within the UK is paid for by the licence fees. Most of the international content is funded by selling content to international TV companies (for example, Doctor Who, as a recent success, has been sold to broadcasters across the world, for distribution via other national channels), merchandising licences (think how many products feature BBC programmes in some form or another), and, for BBC World, the foreign office contributes as well.
Having a global presence is good for the BBC, as it keeps the name, or, even, if you want to call it, the brand of BBC known as a reputable news source. The BBC is fairly independent, aims to be free of bias, and while it doesn't always manage it, it does a lot better than most commercial competitors.
However, there is almost always scope for more perspectives on events, so the launch of AJE, if nothing else, should help ensure that the BBC is forced to be even more careful to avoid bias, as there will now be competitors coming at them from both sides of the debate.

  • 19.
  • At 01:41 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Thomas Hopston wrote:

* Kendrick Curtis wrote:

"I think the real worry for a lot of people is that al-Jazeera will be "Fox News for the 'bad guys'"."

Well I went to the Wiki entry to see if there are any allegedly dishonest presenters like Bill O'Reilly and looking at the lineup for AJE there seems to be serious quality whom I cant imagine being Foxish:

* Sir David Frost
* Riz Khan (BBC, CNN)
* Felicity Barr (ITN)
* Stephen Cole (BBC)
* Jane Dutton (BBC, CNN)
* David Foster (Sky)
* Steff Gaulter (Sky)
* Shiulie Ghosh (ITN)
* Kimberly Halkett (GLOBAL TV)
* David Hawkins (CBS News)
* Darren Jordon (BBC)
* Dave Marash (ABC)
* Rageh Omaar (BBC)
* Veronica Pedrosa (BBC, CNN)
* Shahnaz Pakravan (BBC, ITN)
* Mark Seddon (Various)
* Barbara Serra (Sky)
* Lauren Taylor (ITN)

  • 20.
  • At 01:44 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Roger wrote:

If AJ is not going to attend any briefings by 'Big Statemen' then how will they know what these people are saying.
They don't need to broadcast the meetings to everyone but they should at least have a first hand account of what was said. Then if the facts don't match what was said they can pull them up on it.

Aside from that AJ has recieved a bad press in the west partially due to its willingness to broadcast messages from people like Osama Bin Laden. But surely that means that they are willing to show another side to the argument. If people can access all the various news channels then they can make their own minds up based upon what each of them is saying.

For democracy or freedom of speech to spread people need access to multiple information sources. One or two west biased (And they are as that is the culture they were created in) broadcasters cannot give the spread of news that comes with multiple channels from different cultures and regions.

  • 21.
  • At 01:45 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Gregory Nicholls wrote:

Richard writes "I think it's wrong not to challenge and test what people in power have said". True, but the current media doesn't test or challenge. No-one actually asks difficult or probing questions because they're afraid of upsetting those in power and thus losing access. Maybe by taking a different stance AJE might actually give us a new perspective on things.

  • 22.
  • At 01:46 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Lynn Story wrote:

Mark (#3):

I confess I chuckled when reading your post as I also was speculating on who would be the most anti-American as well.

BBC does extremely well with a bias so subtle that even fairly intelligent Americans become immune. AlJazeera is much more overt in their bias, so much easier to discern. What I think will be interesting is if AlJazeera slants against Christianity as much or moreso than the BBC.

  • 23.
  • At 02:14 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Chan Kahon wrote:

I agree that a regular spokesman could reveal significant information that should not be missed due to bias, but it's also undeniable that every news channel have its own weakness. It's constructive to have the third person to interpret the world in a different way anyway. But as a Hong Kong Journalism student, the absence of a good Chinese news channel is regrettable. Obviously, what we are lack of is not demand, but the freedom of media in the most populated country in the world!

  • 24.
  • At 02:14 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Jakester wrote:

Ross, you say: "I notice in your interactive guide to 9/11 it is now refereed to as a disater with no mention of terrorists or Muslim involvment." If this in relation to this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/5298746.stm then granted there is no mention of Muslim "involvement" but the first slide talks about the twin towers being the "principle target of a terrorist attack".

A quick clarification - BBC World is not funded by the licence fee. It's funded by commercial income - through advertising and sponsorship. It can't be seen in the UK, but is available in 274 million homes in the rest of the world.

  • 26.
  • At 02:46 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • mike wrote:

I don't watch any TV. But I do follow the news on internet. The BBC is the main site I consult, but have always found the al Jazeera site to be very good on middle eastern affairs. It seems to have similar standards of objectivity to the BBC.

Unfortunately it tends to have a bad name, because people associate it with terrorism. After all most of us only became aware of it when they showed Bin Laden's videos. The US & UK governments wanted to bomb them! So it will probably never really compete with the BBC.

  • 27.
  • At 03:10 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Aaron Agien Nyangkwe wrote:

Mr Simon Cooke's allusion to "that is why CNN is ahead of you" is questionable from purely journalistic perspectives. Credible Journalists will say it any time that CNN operates like the Soviet PRAVDA, always keen to being the master's voice. Whether it be the war on Irak or American elections, you will hardly find CNN informing the people and holding those in power responsible as the BBC does on several occassions.
Ofcourse, I a Cameroonian calling the House of Lord, the "British First Chambers". What about that? That is not as damaging to cedibility as blindly supporting the war against Irak when the BBC independently stood against Her Majesty's, Government, with evidence in galore. History proved the BBC right.
BBC may not be the most popular News channel according to Simon, IT IS AT LEAST THE MOST CREDIBLE IN THE WORLD FOR NOW.
If you do not listen to the BBC, then you remained the most ill- informed.
My worry with the BBC, when it comes to covering Africa, is this knack for the "man bite dog" phenomenon, while ignoring the progress that is made here and there. This is not what it does with European and American coverage. Portraying Africa as a doom continent does not augur well for a standard news organ like the BBC.
THOSE ARE THE ISSUES, Mr Cooke.

  • 28.
  • At 03:11 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Jakester, I would be more easily convinced that the Battle of London was a hoax and all those explosions and deaths were due to gas main leaks from defective installations and that it was mere coincidence that the Nazis happened to launch V1 and V2 rockets at the same time. All this talk about Nazi Germany attacking London was propaganda and the Holocaust never happened. Nice guys like that would never target civilians or commit genocide.

How clever of Al Jazeera to be able to ignore what governments say. Not hearing that the President of Iran called for Israel to be wiped off the map, it will be very easy for them to sell its viewers and listeners the idea that the coming Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's secret nuclear installation was completely unprovoked. Perhaps BBC will follow suit when it sees the success of it.

  • 29.
  • At 03:26 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • CD Baric wrote:

I don't understand, judging by what I read at BBC news, I thought The Beeb was an Islamic news agency.

The way the Beeb picks through comments and only posts pro-Islamic views (with few exceptions) is world renown. This is of course totally in line with your anti-Israeli perspective.

We who live in the Americas are well aware of the Saudi slanted drift from Londonistan. I guess the Saudis have never heard the saying "You can't buy love" because they sure can and they do.

al-Jazeera is strong competition for the Beeb, competition to see who can blow the most smoke up Saudi butts.

  • 30.
  • At 03:31 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Adam wrote:

Kendrick Curtis (post 6)

I thought Fox News was for the 'bad guys'?

  • 31.
  • At 03:45 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • James wrote:

Richard has just said what I was going to... there are various adverts in between news and programming. The website bbcworld.com also carries advertising.

Having watched AJE since noon it's a nice alternative. I don't know where the fascination with getting the biggest possible "video wall" came from, but it hardly enhances the experience.

From what I've heard it changed to Al Jazeera English because the original Al Jazeera has carriage agreements all over the world. By appending English I think they hope to distinguish it.

  • 32.
  • At 03:56 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Alexandra wrote:

I look forward to Al-Jazeera English, although I won´t be able to receive them on my limited tv just yet (don´t even get BBC world, just the awfully biased CNN). I have been reading their English website as one of my main sources of news since the early days of the war against Iraq, and I have always been impressed with their coverage and editorial stance. Far from taking the side of "bad guys" (number 6, in my opinion Fox News is for the "bad guys" itself, they are a propaganda mouthpiece for those responsible for making Iraq, Afghanistan and Western-Muslim relations into the disaster they currently are), Al-Jazeera´s English website news has always been scrupulously balanced and impartial (in a way that puts all our Western media to shame), while their comment pieces - always explicitly labeled as such - provide a different perspective we are rarely granted access to. The strength of this news channel has always been to challenge the status quo, WITHIN the Arab world as much as outside of it, and engage in reasoned debate.
I have never trusted CNN, whose ideological bent was always close to transparent, and I feel BBC World, which I once used to admire so much, has been going downhill recently, not only in terms of impartiality, but also by passing off celebrity gossip and amusing "human interest stories" as headline news. I may be white, Western, nominally Christian and a woman, but Al-Jazeera already has my vote!

  • 33.
  • At 04:05 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • John Williams wrote:

Simon Ward:

Try looking at BT for an unfair monopoly and a guaranteed income. They are truely dreadful yet we must pay them if we want a phone line. Disgusting. At least the BBC has something for most people. Also, why are you on the BBC website if you're just going to bash them?

  • 34.
  • At 04:07 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Maged wrote:

It's definitly a new force to be weary about. I found T. Shahin's to be an interesting Middle East take on the new English Jazeera lauch: http://cairofreeze.blogspot.com/2006/11/cairo-freeze_14.html

  • 35.
  • At 04:27 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

I regularly watch BBC World as well as the other UK programs via Sky. I personally think the BBC does an excellent job, yet still avoids some of the the more controversial issues. For example, almost 50% of the US population now believes that the official story on 9/11 does not hold up to closer inspection. The so called "9/11 truth movement" have gathered a tremendous amount of scientific and other evidence to back up claims of a false flag operation. The BBC states its news policy is to report ALL sides of the story, yet this issue is still being ignored (unless I missed something).

Surely the independence of the BBC would allow you to seriously investigate such claims with the professionalism you normally have. I somehow feel the new Al Jazeera may be more open to such topics, but that remains to be seen.

On the other hand, the BBC did have the courage to make and show the excellent "Power of Nightmares" documentary which was also shown on Al Jazeera, yet none of the US networks dared to show it.

Similarly, the BBC stood up to the UK government on the WMD in IRAQ issue, were defeated by the government on this, yet it turns out you were right all along.

As a critical viewer, I simply expect the BBC to really show ALL sides of the story equally, fairly and well researched.

  • 36.
  • At 04:35 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Melanie wrote:

When has BBC "challenged" what the powers that be have said? I am glad that AJE is entering the fray. With their fabulous line-up of staff, I am sure that all English channels from the West will be challenged. That will force everyone to pull up their socks and hopefully the listener will get more honest, unbiased reporting. Some posters here have said that AJE will take up for the "bad guys." Bad guys by whose standards?

  • 37.
  • At 04:36 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Gary wrote:

From an English ex-pat living and working in the USA, I have to give praise to the BBC for its unrivalled and as a rule, unbiased reporting. There is not a day that goes by without me logging on to the BBC website to find out what's really happening throughout the world. for anyone who has ever watched TV in the US, you will know that in a typical one hour news programme, 59 mins of it will be on the news purely in the USA. This explains why Americans are perceived to be arrogant, as we are only as intelligent as the information we receive. All my Americian friends now use the BBC as the first source of International news coverage. BBC, please keep up the good work and I for one, will not be turning into any other news station.

  • 38.
  • At 04:37 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Greg wrote:

While AJ might be serious competition to BBC for Lefty Anti-American/Israeli “news” market, I still will that you guys will still win larger share of the market:

A) You have more experience in the field.

B) As you have mentioned before (like it's something to be proud of) that many of AJ editors were trained by BBC art of “news” manufacturing. So I don’t think that students will teach the masters.

C) You have more credibility since you suppose to be “British” news station, (but of course most of your ME editors are from ME).


But I must admit it would be fun to watch two of you competing.

  • 39.
  • At 04:48 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Themos Tsikas wrote:

BBC World can't be seen in the UK - that IS odd. I think it would be very interesting to see the presentation and content differences.

Glad to learn BBC World editor's view on the al Jazeera English. I wish I could watch the channel here in Kathmandu, Nepal. Channel number 7 in my TV is BBC World and 8 is CNN. That means I can switch to any of those two channels anytime I wish to. When do I switch the channel? Depends on my mood and what they are broadcasting. For instance, I might give importance to Hard Talk (BBC World) over Sports Update on CNN and I will definitely go for Larry King Live (CNN) even if there is Asia Today (BBC World).

And to see the coverage of London Bombing I definitely prefer BBC World to CNN where as I hardly watched recent US election on BBC. CNN was my primary source. That doesn't mean I didn't see any reports filed from different parts of the US on BBC World. Those reportings gave me new perspective on the election.

I think BBC must continue both: reporting and analyzing. I was talking with a seniour Nepali journalist a few months ago and he said that BBC World was better in analyzing the events than CNN.

So my feeling about al Jazeera is this: the channel will be my primary source of information for anything that happens in the Middle East. That's for sure, just like BBC for UK or Europe and CNN for the US.

Otherwise, we also know how international news organizations function compared to local media: second hand reporting!

  • 41.
  • At 04:50 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • J.G. wrote:

No 25
So its not funded by the licence fee. I guess that means that no reports made by the BBC in the UK will ever be shown on the world service? I think not. Does it mean that none of the facilities paid for by the licence fee (i.e. news room etc) are used by the world service? I think not. There is much cross subsidy of BBC world service by British TV-tax payers, but we are not even allowed to see it!

  • 42.
  • At 05:07 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Well, why isn't a BBC service which we fund in reality available in the UK? There must be some law against that.

Anyway, AlJazeera is doing well, in my opinion.

  • 43.
  • At 05:12 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Simon Cooke wrote:

Richard,
Unfortunately, I have to split hairs with you. The line you draw between BBC World & BBC "Home" is one drawn in water i.e. invisible. There are quite a few programmes which you air on BBC World which can also be seen on BBC "Home" or BBC N24 & vice versa. I suspect we'll never know how these programmes are funded. All I will say is that I would be surprised if BBC World's commercial income is in the region of £2+ billion - which is the amt of TV tax that was collected last year.
Also, please don't say silly things like BBC World can't be seen in the UK. It can be seen with the right satellite equipment,is free-to-air & a service provider like Sky, NTL etc is not required. So, who's paying?
Lastly, I didn't mention the Queen's speech & the opening of parliament - you did. If BBC World really thinks that people outside the UK are really interested in our parliament, then it's truly worrying.

Tom,
The reference to the US Senate as "the upper house" in wikipedia - note the quotation marks - tells us that it's just to clarify to non-US folks. If the Americans themselves refer to an American institution in their own lingo (The US Senate), then it's not for the BBC or anyone else to go around changing it to suit their purposes. You might be interested to know that the Indian Parliament's houses are referred to in Wikipedia as Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha i.e. lower house & upper house respectively WITHOUT the quotation marks. Do you want to explain that?

I've been watching English Al-Jazeera today. It will get viewers - but not the viewers from the likes of the BBC or Sky News. It's going to pick up a lot of the CNN International crowd, not just because of their familiar faces but because of their already biased reportings in the mould of CNN, which I've already witnessed on AJ English. Oh and probably all those who've been moaning about yesterday's HT interview.

  • 45.
  • At 06:07 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Rikki wrote:

J.G (41):

Where do you think the profit from the commercial arm of the BBC goes? That's right, back into the main arm of the BBC - the one that makes our programmes. The commercial arm of the BBC (which also sells DVDs, rights and so on) subsidises some of the cost of the BBC meaning our license fee is lower than it otherwise would be.

We don't see BBC World because we don't need to - we have BBC News 24 (which is a news channel just for us British viewers, that should make you happy!), we have BBC Parliament for our own parliamentary coverage and we have the assortment of BBC entertainment channels. It isn't free to broadcast TV, and so adding extra costs by showing it in the UK when we already have every aspect covered on our main channels is pointless.

Complain about the BBC, it makes it better. But get your facts straight first, please.

  • 46.
  • At 06:23 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Rikki wrote:

43: The Americans I've spoken to are interested in our parliament. Same reason important events from the US political calendar are broadcast here - they're interesting to viewers from anywhere. There are an enormous number of British expats living around the world, and for many BBC World is the only UK media they can get (excluding the website, though that doesn't provide live coverage to those outside the UK). Perhaps they want to watch one of the most important events in the UK political calendar?

  • 47.
  • At 08:11 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • D. F. J. wrote:


Ultimately Al Jazeera English will be judged by it's coverage of Israel. This is where the most glaring counter-opinions will first be seen.
American media treats Israel like a rowdy teenage little brother, a family member with problems, but a family member none the less.
The BBC treats it like an aggressive football hooligan, belligerent and violent, in need of discipline, And NOT part of the immediate family.
Al Jazeera treats it like a lethal virus with no cure in sight.
Al Jazeera English ?
This will be interesting.

  • 48.
  • At 08:38 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • chris mitson wrote:

I'd like to compliment the BBC on their coverage of Al-Jazeera's new service. They are treating it as a genuine news event (which it most certainly is) even though AJE will be a powerful and potent competitor. Thus upholding the best of BBC traditions - to treat news events impartialy. It seems to me that many people who accuse the BBC of bias simply fail to realise that ALL news services may be culturally skewed; that is, the story is seen through a different set of eyes. That's actually good unless you are so narrow-minded as to go to one source and one source only for your news. Incidentally, take a look a look at CNN's webpage and see if you can find a story about AJE's launch. I could see one. Although CNN does feature such an earthshaking story as "People" magazine voters picking "the sexiest man alive". Cultural bias anyone? Well done BBC.

  • 49.
  • At 09:14 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Jo S wrote:

Some people have argued that Al Jazeera will help illuminate the voice of the 'other.' I think that this is a fairly closed minded perception for a channel which is subject to market pressures and may ultimately have to be more palatable for so-called Anglophones by toning down the rhetoric. Furthermore, failure to engage with the rhetoric of those in power, however distasteful, is a necessary evil as these men and women shape the terms of the debate and tell ourselves about how governments seek to legitimatise themselves- important in itself for society. Those who talk about the truth and objectivity ignore the fact that even for the journalist these are equivalent to the holy grail, a lofty ideal. Accept this notion regarding perceptions and tune in to both AJE and the BBC for different perspectives and thus a more holistic view- I will be!

  • 50.
  • At 09:33 PM on 15 Nov 2006,
  • Jamie Dowling wrote:

Whilst I had reservations about AJE's news broadcasting, some of the points raised here have lessened them considerably. I do find it interesting that several BBC employees have "jumped ship" to Al Jazeera.

When has the BBC challenged the New Labour government over the poorly thought-out "extreme pornography" legislation or the identity card legislation? And I don't mean Nicky Campbell having a snide dig once in a while, I mean consistently and quantitatively challenged. It hasn't.

Get back to basics, BBC News. Report the news objectively, discarding the anti-American, anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic stance which is getting so much coverage from blogging sites and ruining your reputation.

Challenge the political leaders of our country aggressively, make them consider and justify their positions. By doing so you will be justifying your own position.

  • 51.
  • At 12:31 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Matthew Burdett wrote:

I haven't been on al-Jazeera's english site before today, 15th Nov, but if it's any credit to the BBC, the site layout is virtually identical to the BBC's. So, in terms of online journalism, both are far slicker than the messy site of CNN in particular. I think, looking at this first crop of articles and news from AJ that they are undoubtedly going to be successful. But, the BBC will never lose its sentimental value to people across the globe. Call the BBC imperialist or whatever, but we can't have two sides of a debate with AJ alone, can we? Long may the BBC survive.

  • 52.
  • At 01:09 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • babatunde yinus wrote:

i very much welcome AJE- the new born baby. i hope you will all agree with me that, like a new born, when AJE starts to talk, she will talk as she see things. no lies and no favourism.better late than never. congraatulations.

  • 53.
  • At 01:09 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Jose Julio Diaz wrote:

No matter how inteligent, smart, and clever is a person he will reach a wrong conclusion if the information he receives is wrong.

Is AJ English motivated by profit or by politics? Thats the question.

  • 54.
  • At 04:03 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • GUY FOX wrote:

HERE IN AMERIKA, THE LAND OF THE ALLEGED FREE PRESS, AND THE SO CALLED HOME OF THE BRAVE, AL-JAZEERA CANNOT CONTRACT WITH ANY NETWORK CARRIER... NOR CAN IT WIN A LICENSE FOR BROADCAST ON ITS OWN. AMERIKANS WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO AL-JAZEERA EXCEPT BY INTERNET.

NEEDLESS TO SAY... THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERIKANS HAVEN'T A CLUE ON WHAT'S HAPPENING OUTSIDE OF THEIR BORDERS... INCLUDING THE BROKEN BORDER WITH MEXICO. THE NAME OF THE GAME, A CLEVER GAME PLAYED EXPERT-LIE BY THE CAPITALIST CORP-RAT RULING CLASS, IS TO KEEP THE PEOPLE "$TEWEPID."

KEEPING THE PEOPLE "$TEWEPID." THIS MEAN, MEAN, MEANS... KEEPING THEM IN FEAR AND MISINFORMED... NOT TO MENTION ADDICTED, HEAVILY IN DEBT, INPRISONED, ON PROBATION, ETC.

THIS CLEVER GAME IS HOW "KING GEORGE JR." GOT $ELLECTED IN 2000 AND THEN RE-$ELLECTED IN 2004. IT'S WHY THE U.$. IS $TUCK IN IRAQ-NAM. THE NAME OF THE GAME THERE, THE REAL GAME, IS TO KEEP THE OIL IN THE GROUND... IN ORDER TO MANIPULATE THE WORLD PRICE OF CRUDE OIL FOR MAXIMUM PROFITS. THINK ABOUT IT!

THE CRUEL GAMEMANSHIP OF THE RULING CLASS AGAINST THE MASSES ALSO EXPLAINS WHY MOST AMERIKANS ARE IGNORANT AND OVERWEIGHT... AND HAVE THE WORST HEALTH CARE $YSTEM IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. IT FURTHER EXPLAINS WHY TOO MANY AMERIKANS HAVE BEEN CLEVER-LIE INCULCATED WITH BLIND FAITH IN THE "JEEEESUS DOG-MESS"... IN LIEU OF COGENT CRITICAL THOUGHT AND COMMON SENSE. AND THE GAMES OF THE RULING CLASS CERTAINLY EXPLAINS WHY AL-JAZEERA WON'T BE SEEN ON THE ALLEGED PUBLIC AIRWAYS HERE IN AMERIKA.

OLD COYOTE KNOSE THAT I AM GUY FOX! IT IS MY JOB TO BE A DISSIDENT... TO PLOT AGAINST THE RULING CLASSES NO MATTER WHO'S IN POWER.

  • 55.
  • At 06:49 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • salem wrote:

I dont know If this info is right or wrong,

but Originaly , I heared that Al-Jazeera ARABIC , was infact the QATAR ARAB BBC station. then the idea was cancelled an Al-Jazeera was born inside BBC qatar office!!!

I think Aljazeera and BBC are the same coin with 2 faces. one face for the west and the other for the Arabs to get them colser to western style of "thinking"

most Arab people I met DONT TRUST AL-JAZEERA, well it is not that their news are not accurate .. it is about telling half the story and no the full story thats one
and second , from ARAB view , it is forcing thoughts into ARAB audiances.
u can see it with carefully mixed and "injected" statements that are against any ARAB way of life or p[olitics. some times they give u what u want to hear the truth but inject one poisonus statement inside the huge story , we call it in Arabic mixing a little poison in a full JAR of Honey.

Believe it or NOT . all ARABS I know DONT trust Al - Jazeera and consider it WESTERN way of infiltration.

  • 56.
  • At 07:07 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

Peter in comment #35 suggests that the BBC stood up to the UK govt over the WMD issue and turned out to be right. Since when? The Iraq Survey Group found the remains of dozens of chemical weapons, as predicted by the pre-war intelligence, and said so in their report (Vol 3, Annex F). The BBC, and pretty much everyone else as well, still refuses to report this, due to a misunderstanding over terminology. The net result is that many people are convinced that NOTHING at all was found in Iraq and that the pre-war intelligence was totally false. This naturally leads some people, including the 7/7 bombers, into various conspiracies - that the intelligence was cooked and that there was another motive for the war - which need to be resisted.

One wonders whether the 7/7 bombings would have gone ahead if the BBC and other media had reported accurately on the findings of the ISG (and on the 9/11 commission - which only ruled out one particular link between Saddam and OBL not all links).

  • 57.
  • At 08:28 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Rodger Vele wrote:

The introduction of al-jazeera ian Africa is not a big deal to us, What we require is the wide news coverage and bbc is enough for us.
Thanks
Rodger from Kenya.

  • 58.
  • At 09:57 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Stuart wrote:

Al-Jazeerah, straight to the point, no messing about.

BBC. Only the truth, and that only when we wanna win. Otherwise, we are appalling! Shame on us.

CNN, Fox, etc. A load of rubbish. A bit like our BBC, Ch.4, etc. only a nit more far-fetched.

  • 59.
  • At 10:34 AM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Mark E wrote:

In response to Comment 32. from Alexandra:

"Far from taking the side of "bad guys" (number 6, in my opinion Fox News is for the "bad guys" itself, they are a propaganda mouthpiece for those responsible for making Iraq, Afghanistan and Western-Muslim relations into the disaster they currently are)"


Do you honestly believe that the state of Western-Muslim relations is entirely due to Fox News? If so then I consider you to be foolish or naive. If you get your media from more then one source you will be aware that at the slightest comment against Islam large groups of Muslim in the Western world take to the streets with banners calling for death to innocent people simply because they are non Muslim. As the ones who carry these banners are not stopped by the others on the protests it would be fair to assume that the rest support these views.

The majority of sensible people will take comments from the media with a "pinch of salt" if Fox News told us that Aliens had landed and planned to enslave us then few would blindly believe them until they saw the aliens for themselves. With the Muslim protest we CAN see that there are large groups who do wish ill on us.

Fox News does not support the bad guys anymore then Al Jazeera does. You might not agree with the actions of Bush and Blair, but I think that many who could see things with a clear mind would suspect that they do have good intentions in all that they are doing (although someone needs to remind them about the how the road to hell is paved).

I believe that people "trust" reports which agree with their views, and many of those who "trust" Al Jazeera seem to be those who feel that Fox News speaks to the "bad guys".

  • 60.
  • At 12:43 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Roger Mills wrote:

I watched it yesterday and I look forward to getting a differant perspective on world issues other than what this countries government and the US's for that matter, want us to hear.

  • 61.
  • At 01:09 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Jeff wrote:

Funny that all the rantings of previous posters complaining about anti this and anti that bias are never accompanied by any actual evidence.
Unable to say anything provable, Mark speaks of "subtleties". Wow, I'm jealous; you have brilliant insight that none of us other poor saps share, pal.

As I understand it, rabidly right-wing commentators like Fox's O'Reilly regard CNN as a communist organisation. It must reassure the BBC and CNN that they are detested by people from both the left and right and from other polar extremes. Likewise AJ have received flak from their Arab audience for daring to interview Israelis. When I watched their opening English transmission, they predictably laid the sufferings of the inhabitants of Gaza on with a well laden trowel, but they also pointed out that rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza on a daily basis. I suspect no other Arab media would ever dare to suggest that maybe there have been reasons for Israel's actions.

It's pointless trying to use reason when arguing with someone whose opinions are based only on faith. If you believe the BBC is biased in favour of Islam, nothing will persuade you otherwise. If you believe the BBC is biased against Islam, you too will not be dissuaded. I have heard both views being espoused.

Of course all media is biased, that must be a given since media is created by living human beings who cannot fail to have feelings and opinions - but so what? That doesn't alter facts, only the words used to report them.

Providing they don't tell lies, I am happy to welcome any news broadcaster.

Incidentally, I live in London. I often dip into BBC World as it broadcasts on European satellites that cover the UK and I use a cheap FTA satellite receiver. I can and do also listen to the BBC World Service on my digital radio in perfect quality.

In response to J.G.

BBC World uses its commercial income to buy news and other programmes from licence fee funded parts of the BBC. So the income of BBC News increases to cover the costs associated with providing a service for BBC World and in return we get the right to use all BBC News content, some of which is made specifically for the channel, and some of which is used across the multiplicity of BBC outlets. We're audited every year, and a summary of our accounts is published in the BBC Annual Report. Licence Fee income isn't allowed to be used for overseas services.

  • 63.
  • At 01:17 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Aryan wrote:

I think it's fair to suggest that the BBC and CNN will face a tough challenge in the three-way fight for supremacy. Aljazeera so far has been the new 'China' in terms of its growth, popularity and influence. An important issue with regard to the media is the question of Trust. Here I think each of the three (BBC, CNN and AJE) will have their core audience with the latter having the advantage of snapping viewers from both rivals. In the last 24 hrs AJE clearly has set a new agenda with reports from places that are clearly ignored by the BBC and CNN. I have not subscribed to AJE yet but the free Live! webcast stream is on my desktop. I do not switch on TV just to watch news but staying online with a little webcast screen in the corner is a welcomed prospect.

The 24 hour Live! stream-webcast will give AJE the upperhand. I think its about time the BBC launched its own webcast stream service before it's too late.

  • 64.
  • At 02:24 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Rikki message 46, this American only watches Prime Minister's question time as an alternative to the Comedy Channel. It is hillarious to watch several hundered grown men and women make public fools of themselves time and again cackling like a gaggle of mindless geese or braying like jackasses. Compare an American Presidential press conference or a Congressional session to Question Time. In the US, when the President speaks, everyone shuts up and if someone rudely interrupts, they are usually removed and won't be back again. In Congress, when a speaker has the floor, if there is one peep the gavel is struck and the rude interrupter is warned. During Question Time, the Speaker of the House (my favorite was Booming Betty Boothroyd) is shrieking at the top of their lungs over the catcalls, "OWDA, OWDA, we'd all like to hear what the Prime Minister has to say." And the questions from the "party opposite" are invariably impertinent. "Will the Prime Minister now concede that every problem and injustice in Britain going back to the Magna Carta is the result of his party's failed policies?" And the questions from his own party; "Will my Right Honorable Friend agree that Britain exists at all and is so prosperous because of his party's infallable policies which have avoided the minefield of policies proposed by the party opposite and which were so disasterous when they were in power?" And the Prime Minister's inevitable reply "We continue to make great strides and progress having been left with a terrible mess we inherited from the party opposite when they were in power." Were it not a circus and a spectacle, it would be too tiresome and predictable to endure.

Comparing the British Parliament to the American Congress is outrageous, especially comparing the Senate, "the greatest deliberative body in the world" to the House of Lords. America's Congress is a completely separate and equal branch of government from both the Judiciary and Executive branches. In the Parliamentary system, the Executive and Legislative branches are so enmeshed that when they are at odds, the government falls and they need to hold new elections. No, I really don't have much interest in what Britain's Parliament has to say, its majority is ALWAYS a parrot of what the Prime Minister has to say so we might as well just listen to him. And the opinions of the party opposite could hardly matter less since they can never prevail if they disagree with the party in power.

  • 65.
  • At 02:39 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Shaun Linden wrote:

Al Jazeera English has surprised me actually. Come on - hold your hands up those who thought it would be pro-Middle East, Middle East based with bais views? Well thats what i thought. But over the 26hrs that have passed, i have been really impressed with their reporting on actual WORLD issues. From Zimbabwe, Singapour, London, Washington, Darfur, Tehran and Kabul just to name a few of the live reports.
Their 4 news centres across the world just shows you how dedicated they are at "setting the news agenda". Some of the stories ive heard so far on AJE i don't think i would have heard on Sky, Fox, CNN, BBC World.
The big test for me, will be how they deal with major breaking news.

“In the same way Edward Gibbon wrote ‘The Decline and the Fall of the Roman Empire’ thus breaking the back of the Church’s hegemony in Europe, likewise Al Jazeera English is soon set to break the back of Western media hegemony,” said a Saudi academic quoted in the Jeddah-based Arab News. “Al Jazeera Arabic has shifted public opinion in the Middle East; it is only a matter of time that Western public opinion changes, and the right-wing and pro-Zionist propaganda machine loses ground. The next few years are going to be interesting. Let the media battle for hearts and minds begin.”

  • 67.
  • At 02:56 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Ali wrote:

Straight up said, Bush is in Asia to counter China's influence and already has Japan on their side, is getting India, and now trying to get indonesia too, last time he barely stepped in their airport...hahaha made me so laugh but so TRUE!!!

  • 68.
  • At 04:11 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Jeff Archer wrote:

I especially set my alarm clock to remind me to watch AJE and it was well worth it.

They covered stories from all over the world, from Brazil, Africa, and the Middle east. The balanced the stories well and they really went in depth into the stories not just gloss over them.

I liked the way they covered stories on real, ordinary people from around the globe. I find that much more interesting then what the Queen or Michael Jackson got up to that day.

And they've put together a huge cast of well known and well respected news people from all over the world.

I found AJE better, slicker and more professionally put together then the BBC news, CNN or Fox News. The stories they covered were of important issues the rest of the world should know about, I think AJE raises the bar for the other news channels to follow.


  • 69.
  • At 04:14 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Siraj Wahab message 66, you and those who believe as you do are delusional. What is happening is that despite the best efforts of the governments of the United States and Britain, the world is being impelled towards a third world war of unimaginably disasterous consequences for all mankind. No population of ANY western nation no matter what Al Jazeera or anyone else could say would choose to live under the conditions of an Islamic state and they will fight to the death using any and every means at their disposal to prevent having it imposed on them. That is reality.

  • 70.
  • At 12:21 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • R Ghul wrote:

Mark - your response to Siraj Wahab only demonstrates your ignorance. Where is your evidence that Al Jazeera is promoting the establishment of an Islamic state? This is pure nonsense. I can assure you that the people of the Middle East are considerably more sophisticated and well-educated than you give them credit for.

  • 71.
  • At 01:03 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Kasper wrote:

To all of you who say that Americans are "denied" access to Al Jazeera, say that they are wrong. I have been a student in Washington DC for the past year and I found it interesting that Al Jazeera (in Arabic) was included in our cable package. I also have a cousin who works in a nearby hotel, who says that in all the expensive suites, the TV's are preset to Al Jazeera. This is because we have Saudi royalty here all the time (not to mention that they just donated millions to our university) and we deliver it for them.

  • 72.
  • At 01:41 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Bill Saunders wrote:

Now you can get the news directly from Arab Fantasyland instead of merely settling for Euro-Apologist distortions from the BBC.

I look forward to learning about how the Zionist occupiers of Palestine were responsible for the World Trade Center attacks.

Don't miss their upcoming documentary on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"

  • 73.
  • At 03:05 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Billy Joe wrote:

There are a number of reasons why BBC World should be worried about more competition:

1. BBC World is hopeless at deciding when to cut to and from live events and breaking news. There are many times when significant news is breaking, and BBC World religiously sticks with its scheduled programming. Sometimes it seems like only a nuclear attack would force BBC World to break into 'Talking Movies' or 'Click OnLine'. Richard, you run a NEWS channel...remember that!

2. BBC World is dull, dull, dull. Bland presenters throwing to dull correspondents and linking to formulaic news packages. Do seomthing different to break up the monotony!

3. The news agenda is firmly geared towards the West. A natural disaster in the US that kills no-one will get loads of coverage. A disaster in, say, Bangladesh that kills dozens won't be mentioned.

If AJE can push BBC World to review its approach, that has to be a good thing!

  • 74.
  • At 10:40 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Simon Cooke wrote:

RE: 61/Jeff: Thank you for saying that all media is biased. In which case what the media should do is just report what they see & hear & leave it at that especially when the events are taking place outside the U.K. Why is this so difficult to understand?

RE: 64/Mark: Your description of PMQ & the events in the House of Commons is uncannily accurate. PMQ is nothing but a latter-day Shakespearean play. The folly is that the 600+ people in there actually think that they're showcasing democracy. And yet voter turnout at the general elections keeps dropping. On top of this, you have the media. There is a well-respected BBC presenter who is proud of asking a politician the same question 14 times without getting an answer. It then turns out that he only kept asking the question because the next item was delayed. He reveals this ONLY after he has won an award for asking the said question 14 times.

I've never seen such behaviour on CNN or any of the US networks. I hope AJ doesn't do this either. It's just not helpful in informing the public which is all that news channels should seek to do.

  • 75.
  • At 01:01 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Speaker; "Simon Cooke"

Simon Cooke; "Number 74 Mister Prime Minister"

Prime Minister Mark; "I refer my right honorable friend to the reply I gave some moments ago."

This curious ritual reapeated many times every week may have some significance in Britain but to me it seems a pointless waste of time. I don't know if I'm looking through the looking glass or at Lilliput...or both at once.

  • 76.
  • At 01:51 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Jeff Porter wrote:


Only manged to catch AJE for 30 mins or so on 16th Nov. Looks pretty slick, lots of familiar faces. They seemed to be ahead of Sky/News 24 on the IDFs action in Gaza that morning.

Picking up the wider points, BBC
World does share overnight content here in the UK with BBC News24.I would like to see more BBC World content on News 24 during the day. You sometimes get a 30 min news update from them on News 24 at 9.30 am UK time but that's all.

Something Richard Porter (no relation) might be able to answer is the background to the proposed BBC Arabic TV channel. I believe it will be called BBC worldservice TV? Isn't that what BBC World started out as???

  • 77.
  • At 09:40 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

Responding to message 26, by "mike":

You say: "The US & UK governments wanted to bomb them!"

I'm not sure if that story ever amounted to more than a rumour, but the version I heard was that Blair talked Bush out of it. It seems unlikely, then, that the UK government ever wanted to bomb Al Jazeera, or that the US government was particularly intent on it.

  • 78.
  • At 08:58 AM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • John O'Donnell wrote:

"you take something seriously simply because a big statesman is saying things"

Thats exactly my problem with the BBC, a more sceptical analysis is long overdue.

  • 79.
  • At 10:25 AM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Phil Adams wrote:

I am an addict already to the new station not at all like the evil station as presented by American and British media. To be able to receive news and views that would never otherwise be seen or heard over the British stations is so refreshing, I wish them well for the future.

  • 80.
  • At 09:55 PM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • mahmood alomary wrote:


i really applaud AJE for penetreting the western world news monopoly it really pains me the degree of jealousy directed against AJE. thats not new we should celebrate another outlet of information other than BBC CNN BBC is my main source of news and will remain ALJAZEERA graduated from BBC school now that doesnt mean BBC will remain ahead forever the world changes and people execell perphaps the student outsmart his teacher. i still admire BBC and will. We should realise the western media was biased and will remain so whats so wrong with people chosing diferent way of thinking many said muslims impose there will on others but we forget the west is the one who imposes there will with excuse eg demoracy human rights etc. lets all not be judge and excutioner AJE i think will excell in where many failed i hope AJE will not be baised to any course as i have been a veiwer of AJ for many years lets wait and see how it will conduct journalism away from special interest. many countries hates Aljazeera from USA TO Saudi Arabia all dont like Aljazeera because they dont sing there songs which they like to hear. Still i Admire and respect BBC which we all love.

  • 81.
  • At 10:40 PM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Poyan wrote:

Cd Baric #29 wrote

"We who live in the Americas are well aware of the Saudi slanted drift from Londonistan. I guess the Saudis have never heard the saying 'You can't buy love' because they sure can and they do.
al-Jazeera is strong competition for the Beeb, competition to see who can blow the most smoke up Saudi butts"


I find this anti-Aljazeera point of view most interesting, considering that Aljazeera is bannes in Saudi Arabia.

  • 82.
  • At 09:13 AM on 20 Nov 2006,
  • Niran wrote:

I've caught a little of Al Jazeera English over this weekend and have been incredibly impressed. Impartial and in-depth reporting, REAL international stories rather than just UK-centric. And as they say - they don't take anything at face value.

How many hours does the BBC give to live press conferences from world leaders in which absolutely NOTHING of significance is actually said?

To be honest though, I've never had the opportunity to watch BBC World. Given that AJE is now available on major UK networks you should REALLY make BBC World available as well as a competitor. At the moment my only BBC alternative to AJE is the atrocious BBC News 24 (which is ok as a UK news channel, but in terms of international news reporting is a bad joke).

I'm sure BBC World has much to offer as the BBC News International Website is without doubt the best news site on the Net. I hope you take this challenge from Al Jazeera seriously - until we can actually SEE the BBC competition in the UK we are hardly likely to choose it.

  • 83.
  • At 11:03 AM on 20 Nov 2006,
  • Morwenna Jordan wrote:

Hi,
I think competition as you say, is a good thing. I for one am interested in seeing a less Western approach to news stories. Though the BBC works hard at being impartial it will be interesting to see if and how Al Jazeera report on stories and what the differences are.
I wish some World viewers were less hung up on the licence fee. World is not supported by the GB tax payers in any way, shape or form. The price they pay for the BBC is pretty negligible anyway..what do they want otherwise Fox News?

  • 84.
  • At 11:49 AM on 20 Nov 2006,
  • George wrote:

Al-jazeera has an agenda.

No fact is going to sway the propaganda.

You were BBC quality journalism from them?

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