The Arabic news network Al Jazeera is all set to open their English language version on Wednesday.

Al Jazeera has had a somewhat chequered career when viewed through western eyes. There have been occasions where they have been accused of probably being in collusion with terrorists. It was also rumoured that the US deliberately bombed one of their studios to take them off the air.

Certainly there is much food for thought when dealing with Al Jazeera. They were universally condemned for showing footage of terrorist atrocities, in particularly the beheading of a US citizen.

All in all, I am for Al Jazeera opening up shop in English. I always like to hear other opinions. Most situations are not black and white. Most are murky shades of grey. That is clear in our own countries, never mind viewing what is going on in other countries.

For example the death sentence is not used in Europe, as a result executions in the US are reported in a bad light in Europe. Japan likes to eat whale meat; most of North America is against whaling. So once again there are two very different viewpoints put forward.

The list of cultural differences between countries would fill many volumes.

I personally think that Al Jazeera will be a welcome addition to the English speaking world. We don’t (and likely won’t) have to agree with them, but it sure will be interesting to watch their ‘slant’ on world affairs.

Unfortunately Al Jazeera were not able to secure a spot on any of the regular cable systems, so the feed is going to be internet based. Personally I like that, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see all of the stations watch move to the internet and I could lose that $50 a month bill for 87 channels of TV that I never watch!

Simon Barrett


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