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Al Jazeera targets right-wing audience in US

February 24, 2021 at 12:42 pm

A picture taken on December 5, 2019, shows a general view of the headquarters of al-Jazeera Media Network, in the Qatari capital Doha [KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images]

Al Jazeera news network is planning a new media platform that will target a right-wing audience in the US, the Guardian has reported. The editor-in-chief will be former Fox News journalist Scott Norvell.

The intended audience are “centre-right folks” who feel poorly served by mainstream media. The likelihood is that they are conservative voters who support the Republican Party in America.

This is a surprising move by the Doha-based network, which is funded by the state of Qatar, given that its television operations in the US were closed down in 2016. Al Jazeera has maintained an online presence, there, however.

According to the Guardian, “Some Al Jazeera staff expressed dismay at the launch of Rightly…” They are apparently concerned that the channel’s commitment to “giving a voice to marginalised communities” will be compromised by the move.

Al Jazeera Arabic channel was launched in November 1996 and quickly established a reputation for airing the sort of news and programming that state-controlled media across the Arab world would not dare to broadcast. This degree of editorial independence, unheard of in other Arabic channels, has led to it being very popular with ordinary Arabs, but less than popular with their dictatorial rulers. The closure of Al Jazeera was one of the demands imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt during their blockade of Qatar which lasted from mid-2017 to January this year

The network’s English-language channel and website was launched ten years later, and broadcasts from Doha and London. It features a number of well-known journalists and presenters from major broadcasters such as the BBC and ITN.

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