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[] CNN 02.11.02: Al-Jazeera to launch English Web site,

 From CNN,

Al-Jazeera to launch English Web site
Saturday, November 2, 2002 Posted: 1850 GMT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Pan-Arab satellite television
Al-Jazeera, a 24-hour Arabic news station, will launch an
English-language Web site and is looking into establishing a news
channel in English, its editor-in-chief said.

"Preparations for the new Web site are under way and the management
has started recruiting the needed staff," Ibrahim Helal told The
Associated Press in a telephone interview from Doha, Qatar, where the
station is based.

He said the station was also considering the launch of an
English-language news channel to cater to Western viewers, following
its Arabic news station's success in the Middle East.

Founded in 1996, Al-Jazeera has gained fame for airing exclusive
statements by Osama bin Laden, whose al Qaeda terror network is blamed
for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. Its exclusive
reports from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan after the September 11
attacks also raised its profile.

"Among the options we are also considering is dubbing our news in
English," Helal said.

Abdulaziz al-Mahmoud, the station's Internet division editor-in-chief,
said the English site is expected to come online in February. The new
Web site would offer Western users news from a different perspective
to "face the expected ferocious competition from long-established news
Web sites," he said.

"During the war in Afghanistan, Western audiences were looking for the
other side of the story, and our Arabic-language Web site did not
satisfy their needs," al-Mahmoud told the AP.

He said the new Web site would feature more "interactive activities
with the users and more integration with the station's television

"We will try to host officials from around the world to chat online
with the users, one thing that we couldn't do in our Arabic version,"
he said.

The station's Arabic-language Web site was launched two years ago. It
has received some 88 million visits in the first six months this year.

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