Al-Jazeera begins broadcasts in English

The Qatar-based satellite television station al-Jazeera has begun experimental broadcasts using English subtitles in the US to try to expand its influence and revenues.

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By  Marcus Webb Published  January 5, 2003

The Qatar-based satellite television station al-Jazeera has begun experimental broadcasts using English subtitles in the US to try to expand its influence and revenues.

A spokesman for al-Jazeera, which is based in Doha, confirmed that the broadcasts using English subtitles have begun in the US.

The move is aimed at finding new sources of revenue but staff believe that they have a mission to provide the context to Middle East stories they argue is often missing from Western media reports.

The chief editor, Ibrahim Hilal, told the Christian Science Monitor that "the historical context is missing" in coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and other stories. He cited, as an example, stories about the Iraq crisis that fail to carry a reminder that Saddam Hussein, was armed by the West in the 1980s.

The introduction of al-Jazeera’s subtitled service follows the launch of the broadcaster’s English language web site, which was unveiled last month.

According to insiders, al-Jazeera’s full English TV channel, which has been under discussion for at least the past year, is now unlikely to happen until the end of 2003 or early 2004.

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