Thursday, November 16, 2006

AJ goes English

Al-Jazeera TV, have launched their English news service amidst much publicity from both rivals and broadsheets. Tuning in for research purposes, it feels no different to the other offerings, except for the obviously flaunted tinge of Arabic influence. The graphics are slick and the presenters are slicker. Many of the faces are familiar too. Mercifully, I haven’t seen Frost on it, otherwise the slick would have been covered in sick.

AJ the corporation, have been bullied mercilessly by Western governments for the last few years. After 11/9/2001, their reporters were frequently targeted by US forces and their offices in Afghanistan and Iraq bombed. One reporter is still a prisoner of the US torture camp in Cuba, some have been killed. They were accused by Rumsfeld of transmitting propaganda for Al-Qaeda and allegedly the Shrub almost authorized the bombing of their headquarters in Qatar. It looks like the pressure has paid off. The restructuring and content now conforms to 'western standards'. That was the only way they were going to achieve access to the western market. Like any business they cater for their customers and advertisers. Once upon a time, they provided a radical or more accurately a novel alternative source for Arab customers. This helped them capture a good share of the market because of the different approach and the enormous Arab anger at the West and their own governments. It was nothing but a marketing ploy and succeeded because they were competing against weak competitors. They are seeking to compete with Sky, BBC etc, therefore they appear to be positioning themselves to be less controversial in order to capture the 'mainstream' audience, whilst appealing to their 'radical credentials' of the past. I don't mind the extra coverage of the middle-east particularly because the BBC are regularly failing to report daily Israeli atrocities. On the downside, we get to see more of criminals like Shimon Peres on the screen. Perhaps they will carve out a share becoming another 'eastern' channel on the digital service menu but the odds are against them. It's hard to please everybody all of the time but I cannot see how this channel will please anybody or exactly what purpose it serves.


Post a Comment

<< Home