The Emergence of Al Jazeera as an Alternative Voice in Global News

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The emergence of Al Jazeera as an alternative voice in global news. Al Jazeera is an Arabic news organisation based in Qatar, and was launched in 1996 as an alternative to the western organisations CNN. At the time, many outside the west believed that the dominance of global news by western companies such as CNN and, to a lesser extent, the BBC represented a dangerous opportunity for the west to control the global news agenda. Consequently Al Jazeera was designed from the outset to offer a less western-focused news service that would, in certain cases, report events in ways that would not come across through channels like CNN. Al Jazeera has been controversial since its launch, with many in the west - including government members - questioning its editorial integrity. However in recent years Al Jazeera has been growing in stature and has struck news-gathering deals with both CNN and the BBC, a recognition of its perceived independence and editorial integrity in the west. One of the main western criticisms of Al Jazeera is that it fails to respect some of the unofficial rules of combat reporting that are maintained by western organisations. For example, Al Jazeera has on occasion broadcast images of western military prisoners of war, a move that has been described by some as being in contravention of the Geneva Convention. Al Jazeera has defended these broadcasts as part of its attempt to show war and conflict in all its forms, with the argument being that western news agencies, by complying with requests from governments not to show this type of footage, are complicit in the sanitisation of war and the presentation of conflict as if it has no real human cost. Also, Al Jazeera has broadcast a number of video recordings made by Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his associates, at times doing so when other news organisations are not willing to be seen to be providing publicity for such terrorist groups. This type of broadcast has led to Al Jazeera being described...
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