Spending so long in America with its America-focused news, I, like many Americans, thought Aljazeera was a pro-Muslim extremist news channel so never watched it. It was with surprise therefore when, a few months ago, I discovered not only is Aljazeera not a pro-Muslim extremist news channel, it’s actually one of the smartest, most unbiased news sources on television and the internet and now my choice for 90% of my daily news.
Tired of the American-bias of CNN (the only other English news channel available to me in Thailand besides the BBC), I went looking for a better alternative and found Aljazeera. Staffed with international reporters, and following stories from all over the world, Aljazeera really is the thinking man’s (or woman’s) news network and here’s why.
Background to Anti-Aljazeera Bias By Americans – If asked, most Americans would probably say Aljazeera news is supportive of extremist Muslims and terrorists groups and that’s why they’d never watch it. As completely untrue as that is, it’s not surprising most Americans think it and, for that, we can thank the Bush Administration.
After 9/11, the Bush Administration went out of its way to silence critics of its upcoming Iraq occupation. Aljazeera was one of the networks that showed what was really happening on the ground and in Iraq and, for that, the Bush Administration went after them. Their offices were bombed by US forces during the invasion of Afghanistan and, since then, two other Aljazeera offices were also bombed – both right after Aljazeera told the United States where their offices were located so the US “wouldn’t bomb them”. If you think America doesn’t try to silence those in disagreement with it – think again.
The main American anti-Aljazeera bias though comes from the untrue story that Aljazeera showed video of masked terrorists beheading western hostages in Iraq. This is not true, has never been true and will likely never be true. Fox News still keeps repeating this ‘fact’ but, as we know, facts are not exactly Fox News’ strong point.
Aljazeera Opening Up The Middle East to Informed News and Less Censorship – The Middle East can thank Aljazeera for opening it up to less censorship and more real news. Before Aljazeera started broadcasting, much of the Middle East only had government sanctioned news and most news was censored. Since the start, Aljazeera has broadcast news that’s unbiased and often critical to various Middle Eastern governments. A fact that now makes it the most-watched news channel in the MIddle East today.
Aljazeera News – I enjoy Aljazeera News as it’s one of the most unbiased news sources in the world. Of course, there are some biases because, as human beings it’s impossible to be completely unbiased but, unlike CNN, which is pro-Israel no matter what they do, Aljazeera looks at both sides and reports what it sees.
On Aljazeera, you’ll hear news from all over the planet – the Middle East, Europe, south east Asia, central Asia, America, south America, and with in-depth reporting that doesn’t exist on most American news channels, most of whom do MTV-sound-bite type news. On Aljazeera you get the full story.
Aljazeera Reporters – Although you’d think Aljazeera reporters are all Middle Eastern, they’re not. The news channel has a lot of American reporters, as well as British, Australian, French, Brazilian and many more nationalities.
They report from all over the world. In cities they live in and from towns they’re just visiting but every one shares the same characteristics – a concern to report the truth, no matter who they anger in the process.
Aljazeera Documentaries – Not only showing news 24 hours a day, Aljazeera also produces some excellent documentaries covering subjects as diverse as interviews with General Wesley Clark, stories about the earthquake in Haiti, the food crisis in Sudan, and interviews with new artists and musicians from all over the world. Last week, I watched a story on a Palestinian rap group (more interested in showcasing Palestinian problems with their music than joining anti-Israel gangs), an hour documentary on corruption in the US pharmaceutical company and all about a girls’ football team in South Africa after the world cup.
Documentary programs include ‘Inside Iraq’, with weekly discussions about Iraqi problems and current events, ‘Fabulous Picture Show’ all about movies you won’t see in Hollywood, and of course, ‘Frost Over the World’, a weekly documentary series by Sir David Frost, one of Britain’s foremost journalist recently knighted by the Queen.
Watching and Reading Aljazeera News – To read Aljazeera news, go to the English language site ‘Aljazeera English’, where you’ll find thousands of news stories from all over the world, updated every minute, 24 hours a day (see below for links)
To watch ‘Aljazeera’ news in English, the website has streaming video of the channel 24 hours a day for free, along with all of their documentary programs as well as short news clips available completely free on their website (see below for links).
Premium Aljazeera – I like Aljazeera news so much, I pay to watch it online. For only $4.99 a month through ‘Livestation’, a British company that offers fast streaming news video for hundreds of news channels from all over the world, I can watch Aljazeera 24 hours a day. You can watch it for free with a slower connection but, if you want fast, uninterrupted news like I do, the nominal $4.99 monthly fee is excellent. Just pay, download their video player and off you go.
Aljazeera Reporters Pay a Price for Truth – New America Media
Aljazeera English – Aljazeera News Channel
Aljazeera Documentary Programming – Aljazeera News (click the ‘Programme’ tab)
Livestation Live News Offerings – Livestation (where you can watch Aljazeera for free, or pay for Premium service, as well as watch the BBC online as well as more than 400 other world channels if you sign up for Premium)