Al Jazeera Media Network

Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) is a Qatari state-funded global media conglomerate headquartered in Doha, Qatar.[1][2] It is the parent company of Al Jazeera and its related networks. The chairman is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani.[5][6] The acting director general is Dr. Mostefa Souag. The network's news operation currently has a total of 70 bureaux around the world that are shared between the network's channels and operations, the second largest amount of bureaux of any media company in the world after the BBC.[4]

Al Jazeera Media Network
Private Institution of Public Utility
IndustryMass Media
Founded1996 (1996)
FoundersHamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Area served
Key people
Chairman Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
Director General Dr. Mostefa Souag
ProductsCable Network Programming, Direct-broadcast satellite, Television, New media, Multicultural Education
OwnerGovernment of Qatar[1][2][3]
Number of employees
SubsidiariesNews- Al Jazeera Arabic
Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera Mubasher Al-‘Amma
Al Jazeera Balkans (Balkans)
Educational- Al Jazeera Documentary Channel
Other- AJ+
Al Jazeera Mobile
Al Jazeera New Media
Al Jazeera Center for Studies
Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival
WebsiteOfficial website



The original Al Jazeera Satellite Channel (then called JSC or Jazeera Satellite Channel) was launched on 1 November 1996[7] following the closure of the first BBC Arabic language television station, then a joint venture with Orbit Communications Company, owned by Saudi King Fahd's cousin, Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud. The BBC channel had closed after a year and a half when the Saudi government attempted to thwart a documentary pertaining to executions under sharia law.[8]

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, provided a loan of QAR 500 million ($137 million) to sustain Al Jazeera through its first five years, as Hugh Miles detailed in his book Al Jazeera: The Inside Story of the Arab News Channel That Is Challenging the West.

Al Jazeera's first day on the air was 1 November 1996. It offered 6-hours of programming per day; this would increase to 12-hours by the end of 1997. It was broadcast to the immediate neighborhood as a terrestrial signal, and on cable, as well as through satellites (which was also free to users in the Arab world). 1 January 1999 was Al Jazeera's first day of 24-hour broadcasting.[9] Employment had more than tripled in one year to 500 employees, and the agency had bureaux at a dozen sites as far as EU and Russia. Its annual budget was estimated at about $25 million at the time.


Al Jazeera English

In 2003, Al Jazeera hired its first English-language journalists, among whom was Afshin Rattansi,[10] from the BBC's Today Programme.

In March 2003, it launched an English-language website.[11] (see below)

On 4 July 2005 Al Jazeera officially announced plans to launch a new English-language satellite service to be called Al Jazeera International.[12] The new channel started at 12h GMT on 15 November 2006 under the name Al Jazeera English and has broadcast centers in Doha (next to the original Al Jazeera headquarters and broadcast center), London, Kuala Lumpur and Washington D.C. The channel is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week news channel, with 12 hours broadcast from Doha, and four hours each from London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C. Among its staff were journalists hired from ABC's Nightline and other top news outfits. Josh Rushing,[13] a former media handler for CENTCOM during the Iraq war, agreed to provide commentary; David Frost was also on board.[14][15] In an interesting technical feat, the broadcast of the new operation was handed off between bases in Doha, London, Washington, D.C., and Kuala Lumpur on a daily cycle.

The new English language venture faced considerable regulatory and commercial hurdles in the North America market for its perceived sympathy with extremist causes.[16][17][18] At the same time, others felt Al Jazeera's competitive advantage lay in programming in the Arabic language. There were hundreds of millions of potential viewers among the non-Arabic language speaking Muslims in Europe and Asia, however, and many others who might be interested in seeing news from the Middle East read by local voices. If the venture panned out, it would extend the influence of Al Jazeera, and tiny Qatar, beyond even what had been achieved in the station's first decade. In an interesting twist of fate, the BBC World Service was preparing to launch its own Arabic language station in 2007.

Al Jazeera Balkans

In 2011 Al Jazeera Media Network created Al Jazeera Balkans, a version of Al Jazeera in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language(s) stationed in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina catering to and broadcasting around the Balkans. In 2013 they announced the creation of Al Jazeera Türk, a version of Al Jazeera in the Turkish language(s), stationed in Istanbul, and catering to and broadcasting around Turkey. On January 22, 2014 Al Jazeera Türk's website launched with news content. The move made Al Jazeera Türk the first 24-hour news operation to go digital before broadcast.[19]

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America was an American version of Al Jazeera English. The channel launched on 20 August 2013 exclusively on cable and satellite systems in the United States.

On 2 January 2013, Al Jazeera Media Network announced that it purchased Current TV from its founders Al Gore, Joel Hyatt, and Ronald Burkle, in the United States and would be launching an American news channel. Originally 60% of the channel's programming would be produced in America while 40% would be from Al Jazeera English, that later changed to almost all the content being U.S. originated.

Though Current TV had large distribution throughout the United States on cable and satellite TV, it averaged only 28,000 viewers at any time.[20] The acquisition of Current TV by Al Jazeera allowed Time Warner Cable to drop the network due to its low ratings, but released a statement saying that they would consider carrying the channel after they evaluated whether it made sense for their customers.[21][22][23][24][25][26] The channel was later added to Time Warner and Bright House Networks lineups after a new carriage deal was agreed upon.

On January 13, 2016, Al Jazeera America CEO Al Anstey announced that the network would cease operations on April 12, 2016, citing the "economic landscape".[27]

Al Jazeera Sports

In 2004 Al Jazeera expanded into the world of sports with the establishment of Al Jazeera Sports (now known as beIN Sports) and the building of 8 Arabic language specialty sports channels.

On 1 January 2014, Al Jazeera Sports was renamed beIN Sports after its acquisition of beIN Media Group; the channels were legally spun off to have consistency with all the Network's sports properties. According to Kate O'Brian, President of Al Jazeera America, beIN sports revenue helped fund the network when it was in operation similar to how BBC Worldwide helps fund the BBC.

Other channels

Al Jazeera Media network also operates Al Jazeera Documentary Channel an Arabic language documentary channel, Al Jazeera Mubasher, a live politics and public interest channel (similar to C-SPAN, Houses of the Oireachtas Channel or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences in real time without editing or commentary the first channel of its kind in the Middle East and Al Jazeera Turk, a mainly online channel at the moment.


Al Jazeera restructured its operations to form a network that contains all their different channels. Wadah Khanfar, then the managing director of the Arabic Channel, was appointed as the Director General of the Al Jazeera Network. He also acted as the Managing Director of the Arabic channel. Khanfar resigned on 20 September 2011, proclaiming that he had achieved his original goals, and that eight years was enough time for any leader of an organization, in an interview aired on Aljazeera English.

On 26 November 2009, Al Jazeera English received approval from the CRTC, which enables Al Jazeera English to broadcast via satellite in Canada.[28]

In 2011, in accordance with the renaming of the corporation, AJMN was legally re-designated from a "public institution to a 'private institution of public utility'"; however, it was unknown how this would affect editorial management and funding.[29][30]

The network is also funded though its television contracts and revenue from its sports division.

Al Jazeera and the 2011 Arab Spring

Al Jazeera covered the Arab spring more than any other news outlets and had a significant role in spreading the Arab uprising.[31] Al Jazeera was the leading media spreading the news about unrest in a small city in Tunisia throughout the Middle East in 2011.[32]

People in the Middle East have heavily relied on Al Jazeera to obtain news about their regions and the world even more than YouTube and Google.[32] Hillary Clinton, who at the time of the Arab Spring was the U.S. Secretary of State stated that “Al-Jazeera has been the leader in that [it is] literally changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective.”[32]

The news of unrests in the Arab states was broadcast by Al Jazeera in Arabic for the Arab world as well as in English for the audiences from the rest of the world.[31]

In Tunisia, Ben Ali regime Banned Al Jazeera from operating in the country, but with the help of Facebook users inside Tunisia, Al Jazeera was able to access reports from the events such as protests and government crackdowns that were taking place inside the country.[31] The intensive media coverage of people's uprising against their leaders by Al Jazeera mobilized more people from other parts of the country to join the revolution.[31]

The population in other Arab countries such as Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria also mobilized against their governments influenced by the Tunisian's successful revolt which was extensively covered by Al Jazeera in local languages.[31] The international opinion also came to support the Arab movements in the Middle East since Al Jazeera English covered and reported governmental human right abuses against political activists and even ordinary citizens in the Middle East.[31]



Al Jazeera media network operates a number of specialty channels besides its original flagship news channel.

Al Jazeera network's TV channels include(d):[33]

Channel Description Launched in Website
Al Jazeera the original international Arabic-language 24h news channel 1 November 1996
Al Jazeera English a global English-language 24h news channel 2006
Al Jazeera Balkans a version of Al Jazeera in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language(s) stationed in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina catering to and broadcasting around the Balkans 2011
Al Jazeera Mubasher Al-‘Amma (a.k.a. Al Jazeera Live General) a live politics and public interest channel (similar to C-SPAN, Houses of the Oireachtas Channel or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences in real time without editing or commentary 2005
Al Jazeera Documentary Channel an Arabic language documentary channel 2007
JeemTV a children's interest channel 2013
Baraem a pre-school Arabic TV channel 2009
Pending Channels Description and Region Year Website
Al Jazeera Kiswahili Kiswahili version of Al Jazeera to be based in East Africa. (Under construction)
Al Jazeera Indonesia 2015
Other entities Description Year Website
AJ+ Is an online news channel that promotes the different thinking of other cultures and understanding of news in a first person perspective. 2014
Jetty a podcast network 2017
Al Jazeera Training Center an Arabic language, Graphics and Media Training Center 2004
Al Jazeera Center for Studies A Think Tank that conducts research and in depth analysis of current affairs at both regional and global levels 2006
Discontinued Channels Description and Region Time Period N/A
Al Jazeera America Intended to compete with other news channels, including CNN, HLN, MSNBC, FOX, and RT in the United States August 20, 2013 – April 12, 2016 N/A
Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr A version of Al Jazeera Mabasher for Egypt, Shutdown and merged into Al Jazeera Mabasher. 2011-2013 N/A
Al Jazeera Urdu A Urdu language version of Al Jazeera intended for Pakistan. Never began transmission. 2006 N/A
Al Jazeera Türk a planned version of Al Jazeera in the Turkish language(s) stationed in Istanbul catering to and broadcasting around Turkey. Only online operations commenced. 2014-2017 (Never completed) N/A

Other operations


Al Jazeera Media network also operates mobile apps for their various channels with Al Jazeera Mobile and Al Jazeera New Media


The network operates which is the main website for the Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Balkans and the former Al Jazeera America web sites. For its Arabic language properties it has and for its Turkish properties

On January 1, 2018, Al Jazeera launched a Mandarin-language news website becoming the first Middle Eastern news provider to target the Chinese audience. The staff of the project are in contact with their audience via Chinese social media like Weibo, Meipai and WeChat.[34]


Al Jazeera Media Network also has a digital online only news channel AJ+. The channel is an online and mobile only news channel primarily on its mobile app and YouTube operated by Al Jazeera New Media out of San Francisco, California. The channel consists of mostly On Demand content. It soft launched on 13 June 2014 with a new webpage, Facebook page and videos on YouTube, the full channel launched with an app in September 2014. There are also Arabic and Spanish language versions of the channel.


In 2017, the network launched a podcasting network called Jetty. The network is available via the network's website as well as SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. The network is based out of San Francisco alongside AJ+ and is available in English.[35]


Al Jazeera Media Network owns and operates the Al Jazeera Center for Studies . Established in 2006, the Al Jazeera Center for Studies conducts in-depth analysis of current affairs at both regional and global levels. Its research agenda focuses primarily on geo-politics and strategic developments in the Arab world and surrounding regions.[36] The center with an extensive network of distinguished researchers, and a wide range array of experts from across the globe, the center aims to promote dialogue and build bridges of mutual understanding and cooperation between cultures, civilizations, and religions.

The center also contains the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center.

Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival

The Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival is an annual film festival held at the Doha Sheraton in Doha, Qatar. The first festival was held on 18 April 2005. Every year the festival has a different theme. The vision of the festival is to make the festival an invitation…. to introduce different cultures from all over the world, foster better relationships through an exchange of experiences and knowledge thus creating a foundation of respect and understanding. Al Jazeera seeks to make the festival become a place where filmmakers from different countries and cultures meet to create a unique platform that celebrates creative talent and encourages a cultural interest in documentary films.

The festival endeavors to promote creative talent from all over the world and in this way, leave behind a unique stamp of originality and professionalism.[37]

Lawsuits against AT&T

Al Jazeera Media Network sued AT&T in 2013 for refusing to carry its United States channel, claiming this was in violation of their contract.[38] The two sides later settled in 2014 leading to the channel being added on AT&T's U-Verse systems.

Al Jazeera Media Network sued AT&T over contracts AT&T tried to illegally pursue in 2003.

See also


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  2. Shawn Powers. "The Geopolitics of the News: The Case of the Al Jazeera Network". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  3. Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention, The Guardian
  4. Al Jazeera Media Network (29 August 2019). "About Us". Al Jazeera English.
  5. "". Archived from the original on 2010-12-27. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  6. Robert F. Worth (4 January 2008). "Al Jazeera". The New York Times.
  7. "Our Story | Al Jazeera Media Network". Al Jazeera Media Network. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  8. "AL JAZEERA TV: The History of the Controversial Middle East News Station Arabic News Satellite Channel History of the Controversial Station". Allied-media. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  9. "A decade of growth". Al Jazeera English. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  10. "". Afshinrattansi. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  11. Archived July 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. "Al Jazeera turns its signal West". Web.archive. 10 July 2005. Archived from the original on 10 July 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  13. Matthew Power (June 2006). "Josh Rushing: From USMC to Al Jazeera". Matthew Power: GQ. Archived from the original on 2012-09-21. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  14. Deborah Soloman (12 February 2006). "Bye-Bye, BBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  15. "David Frost joins al-Jazeera TV". BBC News. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  16. Jamal Dajani (21 November 2006). "Al Jazeera English Falls Short of Expectations". New America Media. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  17. Tony Burman (17 November 2006). "Al-Jazeera should be available in Canada". CBC. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  18. "Al-Jazeera English TV date set". BBC News. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  19. Nick Vivarelli. (21 January 2014). Al Jazeera Expands Global Footprint With Turkish Digital Operation Variety. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  20. Stelter, Brian (13 January 2012). "Current TV Finds a Good Number Within Its Tiny Ratings". New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  21. "Ali Velshi Joins Al Jazeera America". Al Jazeera. 4 April 2013. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  22. "Al Jazeera buys Al Gore's Current TV". CNN. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  23. "Al Jazeera buys Current TV in bid for US airtime". RT News. 3 January 2013. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  24. "Al Jazeera buys US channel Current TV". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  25. "Al Jazeera targets US expansion after buying Current TV". BBC. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  26. "Time Warner Cable Will Consider Carrying Al Jazeera's U.S. Network". Huffington Post. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  27. "Al Jazeera America to Shut Down". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  28. "Al-Jazeera English gets CRTC approval". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  29. Chris Forrester (15 July 2011). "Al Jazeera "restructures" ahead of expansion". Advanced Television. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014.
  30. Habib Toumi (13 July 2011). "Al Jazeera turning into private media organisation". Gulf News.
  31. Lynch, Marc, 1969-. The new Arab wars : uprisings and anarchy in the Middle East. New York. ISBN 9781610396097. OCLC 914195546.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. AOURAGH, MIRIYAM; ALEXANDER. "The Egyptian Experience: Sense and Nonsense of the Internet Revolution". International Journal of Communication.
  33. "TV Logos: A - LYNGSAT LOGO". Archived from the original on 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  34. "Al Jazeera launches Mandarin-language website". Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  35. "With its new podcast network Jetty, Al Jazeera will use Facebook Watch to rope in new listeners". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  36. "Al jazeera Center for Studies - About Us".
  37. Festival Archived 2013-08-04 at the Wayback Machine Al Jazeera.
  38. "Al Jazeera Sues AT&T Over Contract Dispute as New Network Launches". Deadline. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
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