Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is There Space for Al Jazeera

Whenever a government is threatened with being toppled, one of the first things the dying government does is shut down the press within the country and try to stop international press members from coming in. With the recent political unrest in Egypt, it became clear that access to the story was limited in the first few days. While American journalists were trying to gain access and travel to Egypt, the middle eastern news network Al Jazeera was already in the area.

Al Jazeera has an English-spoken channel. But this network is offered in only a handful of areas across the USA. One concern regarding Al Jazeera has traditionally been that it perhaps has a pro-Muslim bias, although Al Jazeera has constantly responded that it has no political or religious affiliations.

Do you think the recent events show that our national cable and satellite providers should show more interest in providing English-spoken foreign news networks? Or should we trust our own national news networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN) to report the news? Would you want to subscribe to Al Jazeera if it was offered in your cable or satellite package?

For a more detailed description of the issue, click here. Also, look for yourself. While you might not have access to Al Jazeera on television you can watch a live stream of it by clicking here.

18 comments:

dgarrard said...

I think that given the current circumstances in the Middle East it would be advantageous to have an English speaking foreign news network. The local populations accept their own ethnicity even if you aren’t actually from the country in question. An individual with the same appearance and capacity to speak the local language would be allowed accessibility to the story. We, as Americans, are seen as outsiders and aren’t allowed the same access. The question remains as to whether the foreign network will provide an unbiased story. In a conflict such as Egypt, both sides are Muslim so the network’s religious bias is not questionable. If a conflict were to arise, such as the War On Terrorism, the story will be skewed toward the Muslim perspective. It would be na├»ve of Americans to think otherwise. The only alternative is for our national networks to hire individuals of Muslim descent, from the area, to cover the stories for us. I would not subscribe to any network such as Al Jazeera. It is much too difficult to discern between the good Muslims and the bad. How could I be sure that the subscription I am paying isn’t in some abstract way funding terrorism? There is just no way to be certain.

Elle B. said...

I think that it would be very beneficial for us to have English-spoken foreign news networks because often times when we hear news about other countries from our national news networks, we hear all of the negative things and never the positive. This allows most people to only have a negative feeling towards certain countries. Also, when we receive news about activity in other countries, we receive it as the new networks perception of it and we base our judgements on it. If we were to hear it from a foreign news outlet, we would could base our judgements straight from the country. I feel like how we judge activities of other countries would be different when you compare where we receive the news. This is definitely something that should be reciprocal.

Not saying that our national news outlets can't be trusted. I just would like to get my information from more than just one side. I would like to hear from both an English-spoken foreign news network and our national news networks. I would subscribe to Al Jazeera depending on the cost.... I do think that it would be an interesting channel to have.

EDuBose said...

With the unrest in the Middle East I think it would be a good idea to have English speaking foreign news network. This would provide a means of getting more details on what is really happening within a country. The foreign network could be in the country quicker and would possibly be given a better reception. There might be more trust for the foreign news network. There are so many people in the world that do not trust Americans that often it hard for our national networks to get access to some areas.
I would not subscribe to Al Jazeera. I feel that there is already too much Muslim influence in the United States. I would also be afraid that the network would be working with terrorist. I would do nothing to help the spread of Muslim beliefs.

sswog said...

I am not a loyalist to any of the news national broadcasters. I want facts, not opinions and on all the major news channels - you get a lot of 'talking heads.'

I would love access to Al Jazeera! Especially right now, with what is going on in Egypt. The limited access causes a lot of speculation from CNN, NBC, and Fox. I think the perspective from Al Jazeera would be interesting to watch and to learn from.

ABilly said...

I personally feel it would be beneficial to have this but like most peoople, I probably wouldn't watch it unless I knew for sure that there was something happening over there that I really needed to know.
I had seen it before but didn'care to watch it. I felt that if I watched it, I would worry more about my only daughter who at the time was serving the country and was actually in that area. Better for me to avoid hearing about it through the regular new (ABC) was enough.
Now if I hear anything I go to the internet to find out exactly what is happening.

SarahLear said...

People in the United States already view certain news channels or news publications as being more liberal or more conservative or biased in some other way. I think we should be exposed to any type of news we want and able to form our own opinions about things. Just because Al Jazeera has a pro-Muslim bias doesn't mean it's not a credible news outlet. Being biased that way might make viewers understand some topic in a whole different way than were it reported on another channel. And that doesn't make viewers Muslim-biased, it makes them open minded.
So yes I think our national cable and satellite providers should make a much bigger effort to provide English-speaking foreign news networks. All it does is give us more options and more news. Being exposed to a news outlet that is biased towards a country other than ours teachers us about other countries' culture and way of life. It can provide us to more insight into the lives of other people around the world.
I don't know that I would subscribe to such a news network, mainly because I don't watch the news that much. I mainly use the Internet for news. But it'd be nice to have that option especially in times like this with what is currently going on in Egypt.

Brandon L. Atkison said...

Our news programs today are bad about taking political sides when broadcasting the news. They take turns bashing each other with opinions and overlook the facts. I do not watch the news anymore due to this reason. If a NEWS program cannot just state facts then whats the point of watching it?

Personally I believe that more English-spoken foreign news networks should be given the right to broadcast there news to Americans. Our programs do a crappy job and usually do not show the real things that are happening over seas. They tend to fluff it up and throw American tendencies into the mix. I think the foreign networks would open our eyes and show us the real brutality of what it is really like over there.

Sasha said...

I think it would be a good idea to have a few english spoken in all areas across the USA because it will give us the opportunity to connect with foreign countries on a personal level rather then to just here news about other countries told from people who don't know anything about that country. Also it will be much safier to have a news system set up from foreign countries. this will keep our reporter safe.
The only problem we would deal with is the news being bias and that something we cannot really control.
We as american have a views about other countries and of course other contries are going to speak their minds about us; however having that persnal access to their news would be benificial to us because we can learn who they are and how they think interms of hearing their reporters, anchors, and so on. I think i gets more and more difficult for amertican to go over to get news from other countries. also, we should her news told from both ends. Hearing news from both ends keep stories from beinf bias on the USA part; however, people are going to say and do whatever thay want regardless of where and who it comes from.

Sasha said...

I think it would be a good idea to have a few english spoken news networks in all areas across the USA because it will give us the opportunity to connect with foreign countries on a personal level rather then to just here news about other countries told from people who don't know anything about that country. Also it will be much safier to have a news system set up from foreign countries. this will keep our reporter safe and who ever else that put themselve in danger by going over to other countries collecting news.
The only problem we would deal with is the news being bias and that something we cannot really control.
We as american have views about other countries and of course other contries are going to speak their minds about us; however having that persnal access to their news would be benificial to us because we can learn who they are and how they think interms of hearing their reporters, anchors, and so on. I think it gets more and more difficult for american to go over to get news from other countries. also, we should her news told from both ends. Hearing news from both ends keep stories from being bias on the USA part; however, people are going to say and do whatever they want regardless of where and who it comes from.

Shelly said...

I think that having an English speaking news network located in foreign countries would be very beneficial. This would allow Americans the opportunity to receive newsworthy information straight from the source. The only problem with having an English speaking news source in a foreign country, is the reliability of the source. If the source is not viewed as unbiased, the news is no longer viewed as quality information. Having an unbiased news source in Egypt right now would allow many Americans to hear information first hand, but if the source is considered biased toward one culture, race, religion, or etc, then Americans would no longer watch the news source anymore.
I would not subscribe to Al Jazeera because I do not feel that the news coverage would be unbiased. I feel that it would have too much Muslim influence. It is hard enough to decide if the news we receive here in the U.S. has some type of bias (political, religious, or other).

DSEELEY said...

I belive that Al Jazeera should be shown or provided by all cable providers. I feel this country would benifit more if we had another point of view of the world situation. My current provider does provide us with the news from the BBC and spanish speaking news from mexico but there are times it can be just as bias as the media in this country. When is comes to reporting news in foreign countries by our current networks and cable channels They always seem to be only giving us one side of the information. With the current events in Egypt we seem to be getting only the views of the mob protesters and not the view of the government of Egypt. American news I believe is more sanitized than news from foreign countries. If you travel to the Middle East their newscast are alot more open adn free spirted than ours. There are no networ censors who sanitize what viewers will see. Today we are living in an age satellites and the social media which allow people the freedom to see news as it happens even if the government does shut down the press.

LMRowe said...

I think that it would be interesting and beneficial to have an English spoken foreign network. I think that we should be informed on what is going on around the world. If a loved one is overseas, it would be easier to keep up with the news in that area. Most of the time, you have to depend on the internet to get adequate information. I feel that they only report what they feel is important to the American people.

I would subscribe to Al Jazura if it was offered in my cable package. I think that it would be interesting to listen to both sides report the news

MattDemp said...

I think it would be interesting to have a english speaking news network because it would be something interesting.
On the other hand, it would not be good because the networks are too biased because of what has been going on in the middle east.
I just want to have the facts on my newscasts not opinions that is all I asked.

JLafond said...

I think that the United States should have a foreign news network to keep us better informed of the world affairs. Sometimes I feel that we don’t get the full story form our national networks, either because they don’t want to tell it or they don’t have access to a certain story. Plus, I find it impossible for a network to cover the news from all over the world, because there are so many countries and so much news to cover. Having international networks available to us in the United States will keep us better informed.

I do think that having Al Jezeera in this country is a positive thing as well. With all of the problems in the Middle East, it would be beneficial to us to stay informed with the current affairs over there. I don’t think that the problems in that part of the world will be subsiding anytime soon. Al Jazeera could provide critical information to our country that can help keep us safe.

aben said...

I think that having a English speaking foreign news network would benefit those who are interested and want to know more about what is going on in the middle east. This will probably give them better views and more insider details on what is going on there. I think some people would like to have a netwotk like this and others won't. I personally don't know if I would watch it at all.

BGibson said...

I personally think that it would be of great interest to provide an English speaking news network for foreigners. In some instances people with the English accent are living in foreign countries and should be aware of their surroundings. This form of coummunication would allow individuals to know exactly what is going on first hand with all the important details. Here on our local news stations, I am sure that certain facts are edited out before the report is given. However, with access to an English speaking news station all aspects of any situation would be clear with all the good and the bad. It is very unfair for the foreign countries to not be able to tell their side of a story. Perhaps this is the reason why we are left clueless about the good things that go on in other coutries.
If I were given the opportunity I would definitelly subscribe to Al Jazeera. Even though I may not believe exactly everything that I would here, I would also have the option of being able to hear both sides of the story.This channel would be very beneficial to Americans in a way that they could compare and contrast stories and have the opportunity to choose what to believe or not to believe.

JG Hanks said...

Unfortunately, the first priority of our nightly news isn't always to get the facts correct. Most of us know which station to tune into to get the slant that we are most comfortable with. Information bias is rampant among news sources.

Although not a perfect solution, it is nice to have the option of tuning into or reading foreign news in English. I have been a fan of Al Jazeera, BBC News and many other foreign news services for many years. Living overseas for part of my life gave me an interest in seeking out more than one opinion on a story. Internet sites like www.thepaperboy.com and programs like Livestation have given me unprecedented access to a wide array of news sources daily. Often times, our news doesn't cover stories that are of international importance until many days after foreign stations have been on the scene. To lose these valuable sources of information would be a travesty. I applaud what Al Jazeera and the other foreign sources are doing by even providing an outlet to their news in English.

CLiddell said...

I don't see nothing wrong with being able to receive news from foreign countries, from an English speaking foreign news reporter. Like many others are saying, I would not subscribe to Al Jazeera and no othe foreign news network. I don't watch our news here in the states.I know first hand how the news can be so "overstated"or "bloated."
But, I do believe that it is okay for Americans and foreign countries to keep us informed on what is happen around the world. We do need to know about important issues, just as long as they are facts. Therefore, having direct news from countries around the world would be a great idea, just have foreign reporters that can report from there homeland where the happen is.