Aljazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net) is a large international news agency based in Doha, Qatar with 70 news bureaus around the world. It has managed to irritate just about every government in the world with its coverage of crisis points, so it must be doing something right.
Because it has a large selection of Arab journalists as well as many experienced and highly respected Western journalists (Sir David Frost, Rageh Omaar, Riz Khan, etc.) it is extremely well placed to provide in-depth coverage of all of the Middle East – especially interesting at the present time (Feb / March 2011)
Their coverage of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya has been impressive – with information feeds often beating the more established BBC / ITN / CNN / Reuters networks to the punch.
Aljazeera has shown itself to be generally very reliable in checking its facts before broadcast. This has sometimes been embarrassing for the USA, Britain and Israel – much of the Aljazeera coverage of Israel / Palestine issues does not go down well among more rightwing / pro-Zionist media, but it is rare for critics to prove factual inaccuracies in their coverage. Aljazeera journalists have shown themselves to be equally adept at questioning the motives and actions of the Arab players in the conflict.
In most of the Middle East it is Aljazeera journalists that the governments try and gag first in times of crisis – because the people of the Middle East have generally come to trust the Qatar based agency to tell the truth. Aljazeera broadcasts in English and Arabic. Interestingly, it is the most watched news channel on Youtube, getting 2.5 million views per month – and might be seen as part of the flame of free speech and democracy that is sweeping through the Middle East.
For anyone interested in current affairs, especially the Middle East, whether you are a journalist, academic, politician, historian, business person or just paying attention to what's going on in the world, it would be unwise to ignore Aljazeera as a respected source of solid information from a different and interesting perspective.
Well worth a look.