×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Al Jazeera timeline

A guide to net's significant moments

Al Jazeera aims to change U.S. minds

NOV. 1, 1996: Al Jazeera debuts, airing six hours

a day out of Doha, Qatar. The station is born after

the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-

Thani, buys a failed BBC Arabic television satellite

service that had been a joint venture with Saudi

Arabia’s Orbit Communications. Many journalists

from the BBC channel join the new network, and

are given free rein.

Al Jazeera becomes the first Arabic station to

have Israelis speaking Hebrew as on-air guests.

Its talkshow “The Opposite Direction” becomes

popular, sparking controversy over issues of

morality and religion. Millions tune in.

END OF 1997: Program day increases to 12

hours.

1998: During the U.S.-led four-day bombings in

Iraq known as Operation Desert Fox, Al Jazeera is

the only broadcaster with reporters on the ground.

Its exclusive clips become a hot item sold to Western

media, in what will become a familiar pattern.

JANUARY 1999: Al Jazeera becomes a 24-hour

broadcaster, tripling its workforce to about 500

employees, with bureaus as far-flung as Europe

and Russia in addition to its extensive Middle East

infrastructure. Its annual budget is estimated at

$25 million.

2000: Al Jazeera ranks as the top news

broadcaster in the Arab world. Its estimated nightly

audience is 35 million.

JANUARY 2001: The network launches a free

Arabic website. Its TV feed becomes available in

the U.K. for the first time, via Rupert Murdoch’s

BSkyB.

NOVEMBER 2001: After the World Trade

Center attacks, Al Jazeera gains the attention

of many in the West by airing videos made by

Osama bin Laden and other members of Al

Qaeda. Criticized by the Bush administration for

giving terrorists a voice, the network responds

that it’s been given the tapes because it has a

large Arab audience, and is operating just like the

New York Times when it printed messages from

the Unabomber.

Al Jazeera’s Kabul office is destroyed by a U.S.

missile. U.S. officials say the strike is a mistake.

2002: Viewership surpasses 45 million.

2003: Al Jazeera grows to 23 bureaus, 450

journalists and about 1,300 employees. During

the Iraq War, it captures the attention of viewers

looking for unsanitized news about the conflict.

A U.S. missile strikes Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau,

killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub. U.S. officials say the

strike is a mistake.

2006: The network launches Al Jazeera English,

based in Doha, London, Washington and Kuala

Lumpur. Staffers include Dave Marash, former

anchor of NBC’s “Nightline,” and British journo

David Frost.

2010-2011: Coverage of the Arab Spring boosts

its status in the English-speaking world, winning

a public endorsement from Hillary Clinton and a

Peabody Award.

AUGUST 2012: Aiming to lure an American

sports audience, Al Jazeera subsid beIN Sport

buys rights to U.S. soccer, as well as forking over

a reported $450 million for soccer rights to top

leagues in Italy, Spain, France and England.

JAN. 3, 2013: Al Jazeera buys Al Gore’s cable

network Content TV for a reported $500 million ,

gaining access to 41 million U.S. households.

Popular on Variety

More News

  • Ofanny Choi

    Ofanny Choi to Head Celestial Tiger, Replacing Todd Miller

    Veteran TV executive Ofanny Choi has been promoted to president of Celestial Tiger Entertainment. She replaces CEO Todd Miller, who will leave the company. Backed by Saban Capital, Lionsgate and Malaysia’s Astro Overseas, Hong Kong-based Celestial Tiger operates a bouquet of Asian pay-TV channels. It also produces original production for its bouquet of channels. Having [...]

  • Imax logo

    Imax China Hires Edwin Tan as CEO

    Former conferences and exhibitions executive Edwin Tan has been appointed CEO of Imax China. He replaces Jiande Chen, who now becomes vice chairman of the company, having headed the company since its inception in 2011. Tan was previously CEO of the China business of leading events firm Messe Muenchen. Before that he held roles at [...]

  • Alicia Keys23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards,

    Alicia Keys Will Return as 2020 Grammy Awards Host

    Alicia Keys will return as the host of the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. Keys hosted the awards show for the first time in 2019. She will become the third woman and the first female music star to host the show twice. Keys has won 15 Grammy awards and is second only to Paul Simon as [...]

  • Visitors passe by a Alibaba Group

    Alibaba Readies $14 Billion Share Sale in Hong Kong

    UPDATED: Chinese e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba may raise up to $15 billion through a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong. The move would be the largest share offering this year and comes despite the ongoing civil strife in the Asian financial capital. Alibaba’s shares have been traded in American Depositary Receipt form [...]

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: '1984's' 'Final Girl' Revealed

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Final Girl,” the finale episode of “American Horror Story: 1984.” The final episode of “American Horror Story: 1984” is appropriately called “The Final Girl,” a reference to the term given to that one (usually virginal) young woman who manages to survive the massacre in most [...]

  • Lady Antebellum and Halsey53rd Annual CMA

    Halsey Puts the Extra Lady in Lady Antebellum in Elegant CMA Awards Medley

    Halsey is increasingly proving herself a woman for all seasons in her varied TV appearances and awards show collaborations, and Wednesday’s CMA Awards telecast was no exception, as she ingratiated herself into the country vocal trio Lady Antebellum for some flawless four-part harmony on a medley of two of their respective hits. She and Lady [...]

  • The Bachelor

    TV News Roundup: ABC Announces Premiere Date for 'The Bachelor' Season 24

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC announced the premiere date for “The Bachelor” Season 24, while Showtime set a date for Eddie Griffin’s new comedy special. CASTING Freeform announced that it has cast the pilot for “Last Summer.“ Chiara Aurelia will star as Jeanette and Mika Abdalla will star as Kate in this “unconventional thriller” about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content