Tuesday, March 31, 2020

AL-JAZEERA MEETS WITH COMCAST

March 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Following much critical praise for al-Jazeera English’s coverage of the recent political upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, three representatives of the Qatar-based news network met in Philadelphia last week with Comcast representatives in hopes of persuading the U.S.’s largest cable operator to give it an outlet on its systems. With few exceptions (it can be viewed on cable systems only in Washington, D.C.; Toledo, OH; and Burlington, VT), al-Jazeera can just be seen via Internet streaming in the U.S. “We engaged in good discussions,” Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, told MarketWatch.com. A Comcast spokesman declined to discuss the talks, citing a company policy not to comment on negotiations with programmers. “Comcast asked us to deliver to them, in hard copy, the emails we’d received calling for the channel,” Ansley told MarketWatch. “So we delivered to them 13,000 of these emails. Now, that may be a small portion of Comcast’s total viewership, but I think it’s quite an impressive number of people that proactively contacted the [cable] operator to say, ‘We want it.'” Although some conservatives charge that it displays an anti-U.S., anti-Israel bias, Ansley, in an interview with the Jewish Exponent on Thursday, observed that unlike some U.S. news organizations, al-Jazeera maintains a full-time bureau in Jerusalem, adding that he would not tolerate anti-Israel bias on the network. Besides, he noted, al-Jazeera English has been available on cable throughout Israel since 2007.