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AL JAZEERA ENGLISH TO SEEK DISTRIBUTION IN CANADA
Channel pledges to open Canadian bureau;
Launches “IWantAJE.ca” to garner support
Toronto, Canada; 17 February, 2009 - Al Jazeera English, the award-winning 24-hour international news and current affairs channel broadcast in more than 100 countries, announced today that it will formally seek cable and satellite carriage in Canada.
If authorized for distribution in Canada, AJE has committed to opening its first Canadian news bureau to bring Canadian news to a worldwide audience. This would make Al Jazeera English the only international news channel to have a news bureau in Canada.
The channel, which is already seen in more than 130 million households worldwide, will submit an application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for review in order to obtain a place on the list of Eligible Satellite services, which is a legal requirement for non-Canadian channels to be distributed in Canada. This is the first application to the CRTC for carriage of Al Jazeera English.
ECG (Ethnic Channels Group) will present the application to the CRTC acting in their capacity as the channel’s sponsor. ECG is a Canadian multi-ethnic broadcaster, which currently offers 12 television channels to Canadian cable and satellite systems.
The CRTC process is for the application to be studied by the CRTC and then Canadians will be asked for feedback over a 30-day period. AJE has received informal indications from Canada’s major cable and satellite carriers that it will broadcast Al Jazeera English once CRTC approval has been granted. AJE’s goal is to be broadcast in Canadian homes by this autumn.
AJE has more than 1200 employees worldwide, representing more than 45 nationalities, including many Canadians – the channel’s Managing Director, Tony Burman, is a Canadian and former Editor in Chief of the CBC. AJE constitutes the most diverse news service in the world. Combined with the Al Jazeera Arabic service, it has 69 international news bureaus – more than the BBC and CNN.
After only two years on the air, the channel has become an award-winning leader in the coverage of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. AJE adheres to a strict Code of Ethics and its quality standards are overseen in Europe by Ofcom, the UK broadcast regulator.
Al Jazeera English is broadcast throughout Israel and in more than 100 other countries and it gained international acclaim in recent weeks as the only international English-language news channel that covered the Gaza-Israeli war from both sides of the conflict. It was the only broadcast organization that had correspondents and journalist teams working exclusively within Gaza throughout the conflict, and it fully covered the Israeli side from several locations within Israel.
“It is clear to us there is a significant demand for AJE in Canada,” said Tony Burman, Managing Director of Al Jazeera English. “Canadians want to understand the world in all of its diversity and cultural richness. Our website receives 22 million visits every month with over 50% coming from North America, and our branded YouTube page is by far the most popular news site on YouTube. These numbers alone show how hungry Canadians are for the fearless, groundbreaking reporting that runs daily on AJE. This is a demonstration of the country's commitment to freedom of expression.”
“ECG’s philosophy is to provide all the communities in Canada with equal access to their programming of choice,” said Oleg Masliy, EVP Business Development of ECG. “Our intention to sponsor Al Jazeera English’s application fits very well with that philosophy”.
To assist their efforts and to garner support for the channel, Al Jazeera English launched a website, “IWantAJE.ca”, which provides information on the network and offers interested individuals the chance to send electronic letters directly to their cable or satellite provider requesting that the channel is carried.
Al Jazeera English launched in November 2006 as the world’s first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. With broadcast centers strategically placed in Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the Middle East (Doha, Qatar), Europe (London) and the Americas (Washington, DC), and nearly 70 news bureaus around the world, the channel’s aim is to provide independent and impartial news for a global audience, giving a voice to under-reported regions.
In its short time on air, Al Jazeera English has been recognized for its distinguished reporting and programming, receiving awards from the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, Amnesty International, YouTube and two Emmy nominations for international news and current affairs.
It has just been nominated as ‘international news channel of the year’ by the U.K.’s prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS).
For media inquires in North America:
Molly Conroy – MollyC@BrownLloydJames.com
Office: +1 416 545 0168
Mobile: +1 917 348 8540
Additional inquires on Al Jazeera:
Lauren McCollough – MccolloughL@aljazeera.net
Office: +974 489 6040
About Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera English is the first English language world news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Launched in November 2006 Al Jazeera English is setting the global news agenda and acts as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC, Al Jazeera English is balancing the information flow from South to North, providing independent and impartial news for a global audience from a grass roots level, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.
Al Jazeera English is available in over 100 countries to over 130 million households worldwide, and was recently awarded “Best 24 Hour News Program” at the 48th Annual Monte Carlo Television Festival. The channel also recently received its first two International Emmy nominations in both news and current affairs, for its groundbreaking coverage of the military crackdown in Myanmar and for its Red Mosque coverage.
In the US, Al Jazeera English is currently available on Buckeye Cable in Ohio, Burlington Telecom in Vermont, Washington Cable in DC and nationally via satellite provider Globecast WorldTV. Al Jazeera English’s dedicated page on YouTube is the website’s most watched international news channel, with 21 million videos viewed since its launch in April 2007.
The Arabic language Al Jazeera Satellite Channel is well known as a pioneer in bringing independent and current affairs television to the region and changing the face of news in the Middle East, .
Visit www.aljazeera.net/english for more details.
Ethnic Channels Group Limited ("ECG") is a privately held Canadian company licensed by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to operate 52 category 2 digital specialty services to the Canadian market place. ECGL is currently operating 12 Category 2 (digital specialty services) channels that deliver 24 hours 7 days a week leading programming from the countries of origin, serving the following communities: Arabic, Filipino, German, Greek, Iranian, Israeli, Russian, and Vietnamese. ECGL also provides broadcasting facilities to third parties from its NCC – Network Control Center. The Company has built its broadcast infrastructure using the newest technology with unique network architecture as its backbone. Delivering services via satellite and/or fiber ECGL is a full service television production and distribution centre fully equipped with master control, edit facilities and production studio. For more information please visit www.ethnicchannels.com
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