English Al Jazeera Loses Indepedence, Will Answer to Arab Parent Co.

Al Jazeera International, the planned English-language news channel, has languished as it encounters unexpected difficulties such as finding U.S. satellite and cable operators willing to carry it.

Another challenge it faces is a loss of independence. Initially, the new channel pledged to be independent from the Arab parent company, as they hired mainstream American journalists and acquired studio facilities in the U.S. But TV Newser reports that the promised independence is now lost due to a corporate shakeup in Qatar, the Middle East country that hosts Al Jazeera.

"You read it here first. Al Jazeera International will launch in November," the U.K.'s Press Gazette's Adrian Monck writes. "And not November 2010 either. This November. Now it doesn't seem that long ago -- November 2004 in fact -- that AJI boss Nigel Parsons was announcing ambitious plans to launch in, erm, November 2005."

> Also: Monck says the technical problems aren't the only reason for the launch delays: "There's internal politics too." Parsons originally told reporters that the new channel would be "totally independent" of Al Jazeera's Arabic service. But "in a corporate coup earlier this year the independence evaporated. Parsons now reports to the Arabic channel's managing director, Waddah Khanfar, who has been promoted to oversee both services..."

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