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[] Reuters 27.12.02: Al-Jazeera to Reach Out to West with Web Site,

Al-Jazeera to Reach Out to West with Web Site
Fri December 27, 2002 03:09 PM ET
By Reshma Kapadia

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television channel 
known to broadcast statements from Osama bin Laden, will reach out to the 
West starting in February with an English-language Web site.

"It will be original news in English tailored to a Western audience. We are 
very conscious of our pole position in world media terms at the moment," 
Joanne Tucker, managing editor of al-Jazeera's English-language Web site, 
said on Friday.

Al-Jazeera -- based in the tiny Gulf Arab state of Qatar -- began 
broadcasting in 1996, bringing scrutiny to governments in the Middle East 
where many of the region's news outlets are under some form of official 

It started an Arabic Web site, http:/, in January 2001 
that offers news, analysis, video clips and programming from the channel. 
Some 39 percent of the Arabic site's visitors come from North America and 
Europe, according to the Web site.

The English site is set to be the first leg in the network's 
English-language plans that ultimately could include an English-language 
television channel, Tucker said.

Al-Jazeera is already offering English subtitles on two talk shows about 
religion and politics. The channel is seen in the United States by about 
135,000 subscribers via the DISH satellite network.

Plans for an English-language service were in place even before the Sept. 
11 attacks on the United States, Tucker said.

"It just took a while to materialize and to become concrete, and we 
basically want to reach the global audience we know from feedback that 
exist and that seem to be thirsty and demanding an insider, independent 
perspective on this part of the world," Tucker said in a phone interview 
from Qatar.

Tucker said al-Jazeera hoped to offer English voice-overs of Arabic news 
bulletins on the TV channel by the middle of next year and launch an 
English-language channel by the end of the year or early 2004.

"We do realize this isn't necessarily a short-term or medium-term 
money-making operation. It's much more about reaching a huge niche audience 
we have decided and realized needs to be reached," Tucker said.

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