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Al Jazeera Media Network

Al Jazeera Media Network
Private Institution of Public Utility
Industry Mass Media
Founded 1996 (1996)
Founders Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Headquarters Doha, Qatar
Key people
Chairman Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
Director General Dr. Mostefa Souag
Products Cable Network Programming, Direct-broadcast satellite, Television, New media, Multicultural Education
Number of employees
Subsidiaries News- Al Jazeera Arabic
Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera Mubasher Al-‘Amma
Al Jazeera Balkans (Balkans)
Al Jazeera Türk (Turkey)
Al Jazeera America (United States)
Sports- beIN Media Group
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
Website Al Jazeera Media Network Blog

Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) is a Middle Eastern multinational multimedia conglomerate, and is the parent company of Al Jazeera and its related networks. The chairman is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, a member of the ruling family of Qatar.[1][2] The acting director general is Dr. Mostefa Souag. The network's news operation currently has a total of 82 bureaus around the world that are shared between the network's channels and operations, the second largest amount of bureaus of any media company in the world after the BBC.


  • History 1
    • Launch 1.1
    • Expansion 1.2
    • Al Jazeera English 1.3
    • Al Jazeera Balkans 1.4
    • Al Jazeera America 1.5
    • Al Jazeera Sports 1.6
    • Other channels 1.7
    • Restructuring 1.8
  • Subsidiaries 2
    • Television 2.1
  • Other operations 3
    • Mobile 3.1
    • Online 3.2
      • AJ+ 3.2.1
    • Education 3.3
  • Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival 4
  • Lawsuits against AT&T 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



The original Al Jazeera Satellite Channel (then called JSC or Jazeera Satellite Channel) was launched on 1 November 1996 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.[3]

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.[4] Employment had more than tripled in one year to 500 employees, and the agency had bureaus 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,[5] from the BBC's Today Programme.

In March 2003, it launched an English-language website.[6] (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.[7] 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.

Al Jazeera launched an English language channel, originally called Al Jazeera International, in 2006. Among its staff were journalists hired from ABC's Nightline and other top news outfits. Josh Rushing,[8] a former media handler for CENTCOM during the Iraq war, agreed to provide commentary; David Frost was also on board.[9][10] 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.[11][12][13] 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

Wadah Khanfar, Former Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network

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 that will be in the Turkish language(s) stationed in Istanbul catering to and broadcasting around Turkey. On January 22, 2014 Al Jazeera Turk`s website launched with news content. The move made Al Jazeera Turk the first 24-hour news operation to go digital before broadcast.[14]

Al Jazeera's London Studio

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America is 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 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 has since changed to almost all the content being U.S. originated.

In a news release, Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said, "By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the U.S., as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America ... We look forward to working together with our new cable and satellite partners to serve our new audiences across the U.S." The new channel is said to be providing mainly domestic but also international news for an American audience. Al Jazeera plans to open new bureaus across the United States and increase the network's staff in the United States to over 800 employees.

Though Current TV had large distribution throughout the United States on cable and satellite TV, it averaged only 28,000 viewers at any time.[15] 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.[16][17][18][19][20][21] The channel was later added to Time Warner and Bright House Networks lineups after a new carriage deal was agreed upon.

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 and to have consistency with all the Network's sports properties. According to Kate O'Brian, President of Al Jazeera America, beIN sports revenue helps fund the network.

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's former Knightsbridge London Control Room

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.[22]

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.[23][24]

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



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

Al Jazeera network's TV channels include:[25]
Launched in Website
Al Jazeera the original international Arabic-language 24h news channel 1 November 1996
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
JeemTV a children's interest channel 2013
Al Jazeera English a global English-language 24h news channel 2006
Al Jazeera Documentary Channel an Arabic language documentary channel 2007
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 America a version of Al Jazeera that is based in and completely operated out of the United States, airing domestic and international news. 2013
Pending Channels Description and Region Year Website
Al Jazeera Türk a version of Al Jazeera that will be in the Turkish language(s) stationed in Istanbul catering to and broadcasting around Turkey. Currently online only. 2014 (Under construction)
Al Jazeera Urdu 2006
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+ English language digital online only news channel based primarily on its mobile app and YouTube 2014
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

Other operations

Al Jazeera Office, Kuala Lumpur


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 America and Al Jazeera Balkans web sites. For its Arabic language properties it has and for its Turkish properties


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 plans to also develop Arabic and Turkish language versions of the channel.


Al Jazeera Media Network owns and operates the Al Jazeera Center for Studies [1]. 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.[26] 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[2] 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.[27]

Lawsuits against AT&T

Al Jazeera Media Network sued AT&T in 2013 for refusing to carry its America channel, claiming this was in violation of their contract.[28] 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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  14. ^ Nick Vivarelli. (21 January 2014). Al Jazeera Expands Global Footprint With Turkish Digital Operation Variety. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
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  27. ^ Festival Al Jazeera.
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External links

  • Al Jazeera Media Network Blog
  • Al Jazeera Media Network Tech
  • Al Jazeera Media Network Tech (Arabic)
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