Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network That Is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism

Mohammed El-Nawawy, Adel Iskandar

Who would have guessed that an Arabic TV news network, based in the Persian Gulf area, where the free press is virtually non-existent, would arise after Sept. 11 to scoop the world? This is the story of Al-Jazeera, the 7-year-old Qatari satellite channel whose success can be pinned to Oct. 7, 2001, the day the United States launched its attack on Afghanistan. That’s when Al-Jazeera provided the first video footage of Osama bin Laden speaking directly to the U.S. public. The only TV network permitted in Taliban-controlled territories, Al-Jazeera provided exclusive footage of U.S. air strikes and Afghan casualties, much to the consternation of U.S. officials and the envy of Western news networks. With approximately 35 million viewers worldwide, the network has been criticized for being pro-Palestinian, pro-Israeli, even pro-American. This, argue the authors of this succinct and engaging book, tells Al-Jazeera it must be doing something right.