The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Miles on Jazeera, AJI

Hugh Miles, who wrote a book on Al Jazeera, has a "Think Again" piece in Foreign Policy debunking various myths about the channel. Nothing much new in it, but it's a good overview of the facts many get wrong.

One interesting issue is about Al Jazeera International, the English-language channel that should launch later this year. Hugh says:
The network’s coverage will “follow the sun” throughout the day, airing from Kuala Lumpur for 4 hours, Doha for 11 hours, London for 5, and Washington for the remaining 4.
I believe that's a different schedule than originally intended, since AJI wanted to split its airtime evenly between its various headquarters. I've been hearing through the grapevine that there's trouble brewing at AJI's top management, with the Emir of Qatar intervening personally to make sure Doha has more airtime. Apparently it hadn't been made clear to him that the idea was to split airtime between each region, and now, a few months before they're supposed to launch, AJI has to look for extra staff in Doha to be able to handle a 12-hour or longer shift. He is reportedly very intent on boosting Qatar's image through AJI and wants Doha to dominate. Well, it's his money... On the upside, if you're looking for a job in the Gulf, AJI is still hiring!

The entire episode does make you wonder about Nigel Parsons' management of the whole thing, though.

Incidentally, I had a piece about AJI in the recent issue of TBS, looking at how it's perceived in the States and the still unsolved mystery of what it's "soul" will be like -- CNN or the original Arabic channel.