Al Jazeera to launch English channel in Europe

The controversial Qatari news channel, Al Jazeera will launch an English channel in Europe, according to the London Times newspaper.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  November 2, 2002

The controversial Qatari news channel, Al Jazeera will be starting an English channel, according to the London Times newspaper.

Al Jazeera, which has been dubbed the Arab CNN, is, according to The Times about to launch an English version of its Arabic channel to target english viewers across Europe.

The news channel became the centre of attention after airing video tapes from Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks last year.

"First we will do the dubbing. Then, based on the feedback we get from the audience in the West, we have a plan to do an English language channel," Ali Mohammad Kamal, marketing director of Al Jazeera, told the Times.

The channel which was launched in 1996 has strained relations between several Arab countries recently and even denounced by the White House for “inciting attacks” against America.

Al Jazeera has been in the spotlight in the last three months as a result of 'Al Itijah Al Muakis' or 'Opposite Directions', which usually includes Arab dissidents as participants and addresses highly controversial and politically-sensitive issues.

In August, the Jordanian government closed the Jordanian offices of the Qatari-based Al Jazeera channel and revoked the accreditation of the channel’s staff in the kingdom, following remarks made on the show, 'Opposite Directions' on August 6, by an Arab American professor from the University of California, Asad Abu Khalil.

Bahrain, banned Al Jazeera in May 2002 from covering municipal elections, labelling it as "serving Zionism."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia took offence when a talk show, including Saudi dissident Mohsen al Awaji, criticised Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's Middle East peace initiative which attempted to put a halt to the escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israel in March and April 2002.

Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recalled their Ambassadors to Qatar.

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