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Demand Al Jazeera now

May 13th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Commentary

Al Jazeera English is banned by almost every cable company in the US. But now you can change that.


The decision by many broadcasters is not based on financial considerations, it is purely political. It can be seen almost anywhere on the planet – except in the home of global democracy.

The American fear all comes down to the pictures AJE broadcasts. They were the only English-language network in Gaza during the January war. 130 million people around the world saw these images – but only a handful in the States did.

There has been little pressure from American viewers to get access to AJE. In fact, some residents in the lucky town of Burlington – one of the few areas to have AJE – campaigned to get the channel taken off their screens.

The amazing thing is, most of these people are judging the network without even watching it. And even if viewers were so disgusted by what they saw – you know, things like Ehud Olmert being interviewed live, or Bush press conferences being broadcast – they could just switch the channel. But no, they want to deny all Americans their constitutional right.

Banning AJE is worse than McCarthyism. Al Jazeera reporters and cameramen have been hunted, jailed and tortured – all without trial – by America. The same America which was appalled to see their beauty queen Roxana Saberi charged and imprisoned in Iran. At least she had the pretense of due process. And was released unharmed a few weeks later.

It is time to free Al Jazeera. It is time to see what all the fuss is about. And then it will be time to make up your own mind.

You can make the difference. If you live in the US, and you want to get AJE, do something about it. They have set up a website which will hassle cable providers into putting AJE on to your screens. Click here, and tell the world – I WANT AL JAZEERA.

In the meantime, watch online.


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Maysaloon // May 13, 2009 at 2.25 pm

    I know you will disagree Sasa, but I’ve stopped caring a long time ago about what Americans ‘think’ or know about the region. They are a morally bankrupt people…

  • 2 Solomon2 // May 13, 2009 at 8.45 pm

    I think you are mistaken, Al-JazE broadcasts in Washington, D.C. Al-Jaz may also have some problems because they seem to have violated content-sharing contracts with American news networks like CNN.

    The key, as you noted, is that there is little pressure from U.S. viewers – that is, little interest – to watch the AlJE channel. Cable is all about making money, and if there aren’t enough viewers, cable co’s won’t be interested.

    Americans can still watch AlJE in a few cable markets, over the air in D.C., or on YouTube. I used to think the international coverage was comparable to CNN but I note that several correspondents have left the network, citing its increasingly anti-American slant.

  • 3 Jillian C. York // May 13, 2009 at 9.17 pm

    To be fair, Solomon2 is right; AJE is shown in D.C. and has been for a long time. Burlington, Vermont tried to get it; obnoxiously but unsurprisingly, their local Jewish lobby shot it down (not sure of the final outcome, I stopped following in digust):

    And Maysaloon, and you’re an expert on Americans? Why, because you see them on TV? Seriously, I’m just as tired of the silly assumptions Arabs have about Americans as I am about those Americans have about Arabs. Anyone with an attitude like yours is a closed-minded idiot, no matter where they’re from.

  • 4 Jillian C. York // May 13, 2009 at 9.19 pm

    Sorry, I somehow missed that you mentioned Burlington. But to be fair, it was not “regular residents,” it was the Jewish lobby. Period.

  • 5 Sasa // May 13, 2009 at 11.33 pm

    Solomon – I did say that AJE is available in a few areas of the US. They have said that their viewing figures over the internet BY AMERICAN VIEWERS are enough to make them a formidable challenger in the US news market, if there wasn’t such a bigoted attitude from the cable companies. There is an appetite my friend, there definitely is! Those people need to be mobilised into putting pressure on the cable companies.

    I’m interested by your claim that AJE has an “anti-American slant”. Give me one example, one report, one sentence that is “anti-American”. Or are you another one of the Americans judging AJE without watching?

    I’ll leave you with this thought – AJE is available in Israel, and is one of the most popular English language channels.

    Maysaloon – you have the right not to respect what Americans think, but of course you should care…their choices and the choices of their elected representatives affect every single one of us, everywhere on the planet.

  • 6 Maysaloon // May 15, 2009 at 1.50 pm

    Thank you for calling me a closed minded idiot. It says something when you assume that anybody who does not adhere to your college campus Americana progressivism must be an idiot. I’m as much an “expert” on Americans as you are on “Arabs. I guess it depends on what it means to be an expert and how we define the subject matter. In all frankness it is insulting that you have just ‘assumed’ the dialectic of cafe politics with me, as if I would throw a statement such as I made earlier lightly.

    Also please don’t expect that the rest of the people in the world share your overinflated opinion on the importance of the American political process. The flip side to your argument is that the political and social developments of the Arab and Islamic world also affect each and everyone of us on the planet. Why not just say that as well? Even if you did, where does that leave your argument and what is your point?

    What happens in America only affects people who allow it to affect them, and that includes its flawed ideologies and philosophies.

    I know you disagree with me, and you should because a lot of what I am saying is not compatible with your view of the world but please, no more bar table politics.

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