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The Al-Jazeera phenomenon The Qatar-based television news station Al-Jazeera the island was established by the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in November 1996 The Sheikh took power in 1995 at age 44 by coup ousting his own father As part of his sweeping changes Al- Jazeera was commissioned with a start-up grant of 137 million The network was resurrected from the ashes of a failed venture between the BBC and Saudi Arabia With its polished productions experienced professional staff - many veterans of the BBC - all native Arabic speakers its programming was liberated from the state-controlled censorship that had dominated Arab media - and it was free to anyone with a satellite dish Reynolds G 2003 Its mainstream online Arabic news site wwwaljazeeranet was launched in January 2001 followed by its English sister site wwwenglishnet two years later However the English site was shut down by hackers the following day probably due to its graphic portrayal of dead US soldiers The site was quickly restored and continues to provide hard-hitting visually explicit news Considering its wide-reaching influence Al Jazeeras newsroom is insignificant When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited in 2000 he asked incredulously All this noise comes from this little matchbox Zednik R 2002 The smallest of Al Jazeeras three broadcast studios sits behind a glass wall where anchors read five-minute newscasts every hour On the opposite side of the room an illuminated map of the world flanked by thirty-two television screens serves as a backdrop for the newscasts In between are forty-eight computer terminals ibid The Al-Jazeera network has shown rapid growth from six hours a day to twelve then in 1999 to twenty-four hours It employs 500 people including seventy journalists Of its twenty-seven bureaus are offices in Washington New York London Paris Brussels Moscow Jakarta and Islamabad Its journalists represent most members of the Arab League including Moroccan producers Syrian
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