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Our Story is Telling

Since its founding in 1996, Al Jazeera's history has been inexorably tied to the world’s major events.

In Al Jazeera’s work you can find it all, from the heights of the indomitability of the human spirit to the lows of dictatorship, repression and the abuse of power.

For decades Al Jazeera has been pushing the boundaries of free access to information, free thought and free expression in one of the most uncompromising parts of the world.

Al Jazeera's newsrooms and bureaus around the world are full of intrepid men and women with stories to tell.

Al Jazeera’s journalists have paid the price of trailblazing journalism. Eleven of its war correspondents have been killed on the front lines. One of its journalists was detained in Guantánamo for more than six years. More than one endured depraved torture in Abu Ghraib. For years, it has had its satellite signal scrambled and re-scrambled – and its digital platforms blocked - to make sure that people couldn't watch, read or listen.

Countless others in our storied halls have been detained, prosecuted on trumped-up charges, intimidated, banned, forced to leave their home countries forever - even sentenced to death. Some countries have publicly demanded that Al Jazeera itself be shut down.

We'll keep on shedding light on the dark corners, and telling the stories that need to be told.

Our History

In the Beginning

In early June 1996, Al Jazeera’s small building in the Qatari capital of Doha started to come to life as dozens of producers, journalists and technicians gathered from all around the world.
Piloting sessions started. Each member of the cramped newsroom was looking forward to the day when they could present the news as it happened, the day when differing opinions would be aired and given time, and when peoples’ intellect would be respected.

Construction begins on Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha (1996).

After five months of piloting, Al Jazeera went live on November 1, 1996.
In late November 1996, Al Jazeera broadcast its first live talk show, “Shariah and Life.” Its consistent guest was Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, and the first presenter was Ahmed al-Shaikh. The programme was not a purely religious talk show. It was a call-in show that tackled modern living - intersecting with religion and social justice - with an open mind.


New offices of Al Jazeera Arabic (left) and original building (right), circa 2016.

It was later followed by “The Opposite Direction” programme, presented by Faisal al-Qassem. The first episode was an honest debate on the performance of the GCC.

The two programmes were an unprecedented step in an Arab media that had imposed very strict restrictions on debates related to religion and politics despite the need for honest discussion.

What's in a name?

One of the most frequently asked questions about Al Jazeera is: What does the name mean? The dictionary definition of “jazeera” in Arabic is “island” or “peninsula,” but the name carries symbolic meaning. All of the following apply:

  1. It can refer to the Arabian peninsula in general.
  2. It can refer to Qatar, which is a peninsula within the Arabian peninsula.
  3. Al Jazeera as an island of professional journalism in a part of the world where professional journalism is traditionally not prevalent.

The story of our logo

Al Jazeera’s logo is non-traditional for any TV station, but its simple beauty led it to become one of the most ubiquitous designs in the Arab world.

In 1996, Al Jazeera’s founders announced a local competition in Qatar for whoever would like to submit a design. Hamdy Al-Sharif, an Egyptian artist who had been working for Qatar TV since 1973, decided to enter a few designs, playing with the Arabic letters in different calligraphy styles. But while he was driving to submit his papers, he was thinking about the teardrop-shaped keychains that were popular in the Arab world at the time. So he pulled over and scribbled an extra design with a pencil in his car. He put that design at the bottom of his pile, thinking that it had no chance.

The next day, he got a call from the management of the yet-unlaunched channel telling him that his design had been chosen. Today it’s one of the most recognizable branding logos in the world.

Variations of the word "Al Jazeera" in Arabic were considered prior to the water droplet concept.

1998 - Change in Format

In the first year of broadcast, Al Jazeera's news bulletins were always on the half-hour, to avoid going head-to-head with the bulletins of the state-owned media that dominated the Arab media landscape at the time.

Jamal Rayyan anchored the first newscast of Al Jazeera on November 1, 1996.

That changed on May 16, 1998, when Pakistan announced it would carry out its first nuclear tests in response to India's nuclear tests. At the time, Al Jazeera was not a 24/7 news channel. The news broadcasts started at 4:30pm Doha time.


The prime minister of Pakistan at the time, Nawaz Sharif, was expected to announce the new experiment in a national speech at 4pm Doha time. Al Jazeera changed its broadcast schedule to begin at the top of the hour from that day onward.


Expanding to the World Stage

One of Al Jazeera's first bureaus was in Baghdad. For years, the United States and Europe had imposed sanctions on Iraq, and relations were consistently hitting new lows.

From Al Jazeera's coverage in the late 1990s: "Where is the siege on Iraq heading?"

On December 16, 1998, "Operation Desert Fox" was launched. US and British aircrafts and ships bombed Iraq for four consecutive days. For the world's media, Al Jazeera was a major source of video footage and information about what was happening, and that was one of Al Jazeera’s first introductions to a non-Arab audience.

1999 - Al Jazeera Becomes a 24/7 Broadcaster

On January 1, 1999, Al Jazeera became a 24/7 news broadcaster. It took 2 years and 2 months after launch to reach this moment, with incremental expansion along the way.

Original newsroom, late 1990s.

Within those two years, the size of Al Jazeera's staff had trippled, reaching about 500 journalists and employees.

A Bureau in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, the Taliban government had given permission for three international media organisations to open bureaus in the capital. Al Jazeera was one of them. The decision to open the Kabul bureau in May 1999 was a significant step forward for the international role that Al Jazeera would play in the years to come.

Clamping Down on Al Jazeera Part I: 1999-2001

Kuwait was the first country in the world to take overt punitive measures against Al Jazeera. In June of 1999, the Al Jazeera bureau in Kuwait was shut down temporarily, after an Iraqi caller insulted the Emir of Kuwait in a live, call-in show.

In March 2001, the Palestinian Authority shut down the Al Jazeera bureau in Ramallah. Al Jazeera had just aired a promo for an upcoming documentary about the Lebanese Civil War, and it was deemed as an affront to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

In August of 2001, Mauritanian authorities made a formal request to Qatar to stop broadcasting Al Jazeera to its citizens, which was ignored. Elections were set for October, and the campaigning was becoming heated. Nouakchott accused Al Jazeera of provoking public disorder.

A News Leader in Palestine Coverage

In Palestine, the Second Intifada erupted following the visit of a former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to Al Aqsa Mosque on September 28, 2000.

On the second day of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Sept 30) Muhammad al-Durra, 12, was shot dead by Israeli forces in Gaza, while he and his father Jamal were trying to shelter themselves behind a concrete cylinder. (Photo: AP)

Clashes began to spread throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel began assassinating Palestinian leaders, and launching air and ground attacks on Palestinian cities, including missile strikes against Palestinian Authority offices in Ramallah on October 12.

Al Jazeera was the channel of record on the crisis for the next four years.

On November 11, 2004, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat succumbed to a mystery illness, amidst a campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to assassinate Palestinian leaders of all political backgrounds. His body was transported back home from France, where he was being treated, and he was buried in Palestine.

Yasser Arafat died on Nov. 11, 2004, in what is widely believed to be an assassination by poison.

About a year later, on August 15, 2005, Sharon implemented his plan to withdraw from Gaza, while retaining control of the occupied territory from sea, air and land.

The Rocky Road of Relations with Morocco

In October 2000, officials from the Moroccan Interior Ministry ordered Al Jazeera correspondent Iqbal Ilhami to stop working with Al Jazeera temporarily. She was allowed to continue working eventually, but over the years she and other Al Jazeera journalists would have their accreditation revoked by Moroccan authorities from time to time.

In July 2005, Moroccan authorities temporarily revoked the accreditation of Al Jazeera Rabat correspondent Abdul Salam Razaq after airing an interview with a Western Sahara activist.

In November 2006, on Al Jazeera's 10th birthday, the Channel began broadcasting from Morocco a nightly news show, focusing on North African issues: Al-Hasad al-Magharibi (The Maghreb Bulletin). Morocco was the ideal location for Al Jazeera's huge production facility, as it enjoyed greater press freedom than its neighbors.

By May 6, 2008, the permission to broadcast from the country was cancelled.

On June 7, 2008, the bureau chief of Al Jazeera in Morocco, Hassan Rachidi, was arrested for the coverage of protests in Sidi Ifni, in southern Morocco. People had demonstrated over poor living conditions and joblessness, and there were reports of a security crackdown. Rachidi's accreditation was cancelled, and he was fined $6,000 for "disseminating false information in bad faith."

In June 2008, Rachidi, the bureau chief in Morocco, was arrested and fined by Moroccan authorities.

By January 2009 he left the country. He later served in several leading roles in the newsroom of Al Jazeera Arabic, and management of bureaus in the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2009, Morocco revoked the accreditation of two more Al Jazeera journalists, Anas Ben Salah and Mohamed Bakkali. The two were reassigned by Al Jazeera in other countries.

In October 2010, Moroccan authorities revoked the accreditation of all of the remaining Al Jazeera correspondents in Morocco.

On October 29, the government announced that it had suspended Al Jazeera's operations in the country. Morocco's Information Minister Khalid Nasseri said that Al Jazeera's reporting in the country "was a daily insult to Moroccans." Al Jazeera issued a statement reiterating its commitment to "an editorial policy based on the principal of providing alternate opinions," adding that its "coverage of Moroccan issues has always been professional, balanced and accurate."

The five Al Jazeera correspondents who lost their accreditation were:

  • Mohamed Fadel
  • Iqbal al-Hami
  • Mohamed Faqih
  • Abdelhak Esshaseh
  • Abdelkader Kharoubi

Eventually, the government allowed Al Jazeera journalists to resume reporting in Morocco.

2001 – Going Digital

On January 1, 2001, Al Jazeera launched one of the first major Arabic-language news websites on the Internet. It continues to be the go-to source of information for millions of people worldwide.

The beta version of Al Jazeera's website, circa 1999.


9/11 Changes Everything

September 11, 2001, was a turning point in the history of the entire world - and the Middle East in particular.

After the attacks of 9/11 in the United States, the whole world was wondering, “Who did this? Why?”

Much of what the world knows about Al Qaeda and its leader at the time, Osama bin Laden, came from videotapes of bin Laden aired on Al Jazeera, where he ruminated on global affairs and East-West relations.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Zawahiri in the Qandahar region of Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera soon became one of the primary sources of news coming from the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Days after 9/11, the Pentagon signed a contract with The Rendon Group worth $16.7 million to monitor Al Jazeera. The contract called for Rendon to track "the location and use of Al Jazeera news bureaus, reporters and stringers, both regionally and globally. The . . . effort will provide a detailed content analysis of the station's daily broadcast. TRG [The Rendon Group] will also chart event-related regional media coverage to identify the biases of specific journalists and potentially obtain an understanding of their allegiances."

The second moment of impact at the World Trade Center in New York on Sept 11, 2001.

On October 7, the US launched the ongoing war on Afghanistan, and soon occupied Kabul.

Al Jazeera aired a tape of bin Laden discussing the US war on Afghanistan two hours after the initial bombing began.

Bin Laden disappeared for years. He was killed by US forces in Pakistan almost 10 years later, on May 2, 2011.

9/11, the Kabul Bureau and Al Jazeera's Tayseer Allouni

US officials claimed that Al Jazeera was wrong to broadcast the Bin Laden tapes, and accused Al Jazeera of endangering the lives of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Before seizing full control of Kabul, US forces shelled Al Jazeera’s Kabul bureau on November 13, 2001.

Al Jazeera’s Kabul Bureau Chief Tayseer Allouni, a Spanish citizen of Syrian descent, was evacuated from Afghanistan.

Tayseer Allouni was Al Jazeera's first bureau chief in Kabul.


On a visit to see his family in Grenada, Spain, in September 2003, he was arrested by Spanish police and sentenced to seven years imprisonment on 26 September 2005. Al Jazeera launched a campaign to fight for freedom of the press, and the unfettered right to interview newsmakers and access sources of information.

Allouni was released from jail on October 6, 2006, but served the rest of the term under house arrest.

Upon regaining his freedom, he has taken up residence in Doha since March 11, 2012.

Al Jazeera Cameraman Winds Up in Guantanamo

After the US launched a war on Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Al Jazeera's bureau in Kabul was one of the busiest news bureaus in the world.

Sami Al Hajj, a native of Sudan, was a cameraman for Al Jazeera, and was in Pakistan on December 15, 2001, when he was detained and handed over to US forces, who deemed him an "enemy combatant."

Al Jazeera cameraman Sami Al Haj was arrested in Pakistan in mid-December 2001 and transferred to Guantanamo by US forces.

Sami was transferred to Guantanamo Bay internment camp, and endured horrendous conditions for years. To protest the treatment, he and several other prisoners went on a hunger strike starting in January 2007. He remained on hunger strike for 438 days, until he was released, on May 1, 2008.

On the 10th anniversary of his release, Al Jazeera published his memoirs, Prisoner 345: My Six Years in Guantanamo.

Al Jazeera journalists stand in solidarity with Sami, circa 2007.

Sami is currently the Director of the Public Liberties & Human Rights Centre at Al Jazeera.


Clamping Down on Al Jazeera Part II: 2001-2003

In December 2001, Jordanian security forces detained Al Jazeera correspondent Yasir Abu Hilala for 24 hours. He had been covering a demonstration in support of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the southern town of Ma'an. Security forces also detained another one of Al Jazeera's correspondents in the Amman buruea, Sowsan Abu Hamda, for questioning.

Yasir Abu Hilala went on to become the Jordan bureau chief for Al Jazeera, and later the Managing Director of Al Jazeera Arabic, from July 24, 2014, to May 10, 2018.

Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Amman (2001), Yaser Abuhilala.

In March 2002, Egyptian security forces arrested the Al Jazeera crew covering a pro-Palestine demonstration at Alexandria University. Al Jazeera was the only media organization covering the event.

On May 10, 2002, Bahrain banned Al Jazeera for two years.

In June, the Saudi government accused an Al Jazeera programme of insulting the country's royal family. The channel was banned from covering the pilgrimage to Mecca the following year and was later barred from the country except to cover special events, with special permission.

In November 2002, Kuwait shut down the Al Jazeera bureau again, after the Channel reported that the entire northwestern part of the country was shut down for US-Kuwaiti war exercises.

On March 4, 2003, the New York Stock Exchange banned Al Jazeera's financial correspondents - Ammar Sankary and Ramzy Shibr - who used to report from the floor of NYSE.


Al Jazeera in China

Al Jazeera established a bureau in Beijing in 2002. It opened a fascinating window into China for the Arab world, and vice versa. Al Jazeera's reporters covered the events of Tibet in 2008, providing exclusive footage of the clashes between monks and security forces inside the Dharamsala monastery. The bureau covers all aspects of life in China, including the situation of the Muslim communities in East Turkestan, and provides access to neighboring countries, including North Korea and Myanmar.

In 2017, Al Jazeera expanded its China operation to launch a digital presence in Mandarin. Al Jazeera content is also available on Weibo.

Long-serving Beijing Bureau Chief Ezzat Shahrour (1962-2017).

On December 23, 2017, Al Jazeera's legendary and long-serving bureau chief in Beijing, Ezzat Shahrour, passed away at the age of 55. He was succeeded by Nasser Abdul Haq.

A Bureau in Somalia

Al Jazeera's bureau in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, opened in 2003.

By this time, Al Jazeera had 23 bureaus and about 1,300 employees.

2003 – Serving the English-speaking world

In late 2002, Al Jazeera launched its English website, with a mix of original reporting and translation of Al Jazeera Arabic content.

Look and feel of Al Jazeera's English-language website in 2004.

Four days after the United States launched its ongoing war on Iraq (March 20, 2003) the site was hacked.

It continues to be a leading source of global news and analysis.


2003 - Iraq War Brings Al Jazeera to the Forefront

On March 20, 2003, the United States and its allies launched their land invasion of Iraq.

Al Jazeera had crews in all major population centers in Iraq, and went to great lengths to cover the unfolding events.

While other media told people where the rockets were fired from, Al Jazeera was showing where they land.

US forces bombed Al Jazeera's bureau in Baghdad on April 8, 2003, killing war correspondent Tarek Ayoub. Al Jazeera assistant cameraman Zouhair Nadhim, who was on the bureau's roof with Ayyoub, was injured in the blast.

Al Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoub was killed by US forces while covering the war in Iraq (April 2003).

Al Jazeera's former Kabul bureau chief, Tayseer Allouni, had just finished an overnight shift reporting from the rooftop of the building.

Allouni then went to visit friends in the Palestine Hotel, where foreign journalists were based. US forces bombed the hotel, killing José Couso, a Spanish cameraman for Telecinco, and Taras Protsyuk, a Ukranian cameraman working for Reuters.

The following day, US-led forces announced they had occupied Baghdad.

Entry Into the World of Sports

On November 1, 2003, Al Jazeera Sports Channel was launched.

For 9 years Al Jazeera Sport Channel was a runaway success.

This channel was spun off in 2012 and merged into a new and independent company, beIN Media Group.



Al Jazeera Journalists Face Deranged Tortured in Abu Ghraib

Salah Hassan El-Ejaili was a cameraman for Al Jazeera in Baghdad. On November 3, 2003, he was filming the aftermath of a roadside bomb attack on a US military convoy in Dialah. US forces arrested him, and repeated a popular refrain of US forces and politicians in Afghanistan and Iraq: the false claim that Al Jazeera has advance knowledge of attacks.

After a few days, US forces transferred Salah to Abu Ghraib prison, which was built by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to hold about 13,000 prisoners.

Salah was made to endure horrendous torture in Abu Ghraib, as was one of his colleagues in the Al Jazeera Baghdad bureau, Suheib Badr Darwish, who was arrested on November 18, 2003.

Salah was released a month later, on December 18, 2003. Darwish was released on January 25, 2004.

Salah is party to a lawsuit against the US sub-contractor that was managing Abu Ghraib at the time, CACI Premier Technology, Inc. The proceedings were ongoing as of 2019.

The lawsuit of Al Jazeera journalist Salah Hasan and other Iraqi citizens against their abusers was still active in US courts as of 2019.


2003: Paying the Price for Truth in Darfur

Al Jazeera provided extensive coverage to the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, which erupted in February 2003.

In December 2003, security forces in Khartoum arrested Al Jazeera correspondent Islam Saleh on charges of "airing news containing false information and biased analysis aimed at smearing Sudan's image."

By January 2004, Sudanese officials were considering the suspension of Al Jazeera's license to operate in Sudan. Security forces requested the suspension, but it was not carried out by Sudan's Press & Publications Council.

In February 2004, Saleh was accused of "defaming Sudan by spreading fake news." He was sentenced to one month in jail and a fine of one million Sudanese pounds ($400).


Death and Intimidation in Iraq

In the first year of US occupation of Iraq, 21 Al Jazeera staffers were arrested. They were all released later without charge, but the continuous stream of run-ins with the new authorities was indicative of the uncomfortable sitation.

The Iraqi Transitional Government Council, created by the United States, ordered a two-week suspension of activities for Al Jazeera's Baghdad bureau in September 2003.

In the same month, US forces detained an Al Jazeera crew in Baghdad headed by Atwar Bahjat. (Atwar was one of Iraq's best-known journalists. She left Al Jazeera in February 2006, and was assassinated three weeks later, while reporting in Samarra.)

Maher Abdullah (1959-2004), one of the most well-known faces of Al Jazeera. Pictured here reporting live from Baghdad.

In his State of the Union Address in January 2004, US President George W Bush referred to Al Jazeera as a source of "hateful propaganda" coming from the Arab world.

Iraq's US-installed interim governing council again prohibited Al Jazeera from covering its activities for a month.

On April 5, 2004, US forces attempted to enter the Iraqi city of Fallujah, but were confronted by fierce resistance and suffered human and material losses. Al Jazeera provided rolling coverage from Fallujah, which was subjected to the wrath of the US military after four American mercenaries working for Blackwater were killed there in March.

Referring to Al Jazeera’s exclusive coverage of the battle, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replied: "I can definitively say that what Al Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable."

Verbal attacks by US officials against Al Jazeera escalated. As the quagmire in Iraq broadened, media sources reported on supposed unpublished minutes of a discussion between US President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair dated April 16, 2004, where the two allegedly discussed a US air raid on Al Jazeera's headquarters in Doha.

David Blunkett, a former British interior minister, revealed in his memoirs published in October 2006 that, during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he suggested to Blair that the British military should bomb the Al Jazeera television transmitter in Baghdad.

On May 21, 2004, Al Jazeera cameraman Rashid Hamid Wali was killed by US sniper fire in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala as he was filming clashes.

On August 7, 2004, the interim Iraqi government ordered a one-month closure of Al Jazeera's Baghdad bureau. The shutdown was extended indefinitely in September, and the bureau was sealed for more than six years. The ban was finally lifted on March 3, 2011.

In 2013, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission suspended the licenses of Al Jazeera and nine other channels. Al Jazeera continued to work from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the autonomous region located in the northern part of the country.

On April 14, 2016, the CMC withdrew Al Jazeera's work permit in the country for one year. A year later, the ban was lifted, and Al Jazeera resumed work in its Baghdad bureau.

Introducing Quality Assurance

The first report of the newly established Al Jazeera Quality Assurance Department was released on July 16, 2004.

The Department's task was to define standards, monitor output and make sure it adheres with Al Jazeera’s editorial policies and the highest international technical and journalistic standards.

The Division publishes Al Jazeera's "Editorial Standards" guidebooks.

In 2012, the Department was elevated in stature to become a Directorate - investigating matters of accuracy, fairness, balance and taste in Al Jazeera coverage, and making recommendations for continual improvement.

2004: Investing in Journalist Development

Al Jazeera Media Training Centre was established on February 24, 2004, with the dual mission of providing continual development for Al Jazeera journalists, and training journalists from all across the world. It provides courses in all facets of journalism, media-related technology, the management of news organizations, and public communication. Beginning and mid-career journalists hone their skills with some of the best trainers in the world here.

Inside the auditorium of the Al Jazeera Training Institute.

A decade after its establishment, the center expanded to become the Al Jazeera Media Training Institute. The Institute has an extensive network of strategic partnerships with reputable media institutions and circles - all well-known on a local, regional and international level. The Institute continues to consolidate its relations and partnerships, and build new strategic partnerships with various media schools, in order to create a realistic media environment. The Institute also provides media institutions with consultancies to help them develop their potential and attain their strategic plans.

2005 - Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live)

Acting as the eyes and ears of the Arab world, Al Jazeera Mubasher was launched in early 2005 to give viewers real-time footage of global and regional events. Remote feeds and on-the-ground cameras broadcast political gatherings, press conferences, discussions and meetings, bringing audiences the latest on political, social, cultural and economic affairs.

Screenshot from Al Jazeera Mubasher.

A branch of Mubasher focused on Egypt (Mubasher Misr) was launched during the Arab revolts against dictatorship in 2011. The channel was moved from Cairo to Doha after the coup d'état led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013. Amidst a relentless clampdown on the channel's journalists, Mubasher Misr was suspended on December 23, 2014.


Al Jazeera Film Festival

On April 18, 2005, Al Jazeera held its first International Documentary Film Festival in Doha, headed by film director Abbas Arnaout.

For 11 years, the Festival and annual awards ceremony became a meeting point for filmmakers and innovators worldwide.

Al Jazeera's film festival was a major event in the region up until 2015.

The first year focused on Arabic-language made-for-TV productions only. The second year accepted entries from the Arab and non-Arab world. By the third year, documentary feature films (ie, not produced for television) were included, and this continued until the last time the Festival was held: November 26-29, 2015.


2005 - Focus on Under-reported Areas

In the spring of 2005, Al Jazeera was one of the first media organisations to provide extensive reporting on the depth of the famine in Niger. Tens of thousands of people in central Africa were on the verge of starving to death.

Coverage of the famine in Niger (2005).

After the crisis received global attention - due to the reporting of several media organizations, and a concerted diplomatic effort - aid trickled into the region.

Harassment of Al Jazeera Journalists in Pre-Revolution Egypt

In November 2005, an unidentified assasilant attacked Ahmed Mansour, one of Al Jazeera's star talk-show hosts in Egypt.

In April 2006, security forces questioned Hussein Abdul Ghani, the bureau chief of Al Jazeera in Cairo at the time, about Al Jazeera's coverage of bomb blasts in the Sinai peninsula.

On January 28, 2008, Egyptian police detained Al Jazeera journalist Howadya Taha and her documentary crew. Security forces confiscated her tapes and charged her with tarnishing the country's reputation. Taha produced a documentary on the torture of citizens in Egyptian police stations.


2006 - NSA hacks into Al Jazeera

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the US National Security Agency had hacked into Al Jazeera’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) as early as March 2006.

The NSA Signals Intelligence Directorate reported that it was accessing and reading the internal communications of Al Jazeera’s journalists and managers. The agency said that Al Jazeera was amongst a group of hacked institutions that had “high potential as sources of intelligence.”

Al Jazeera is a consistent target of hacks from states and non-state actors.

The extent of the spying, and whether it is ongoing, is unclear.

Covering the Game-changing Palestinian Election

One of the few free and fair elections in the Arab world took place in the occupied Palestinian territories on January 25, 2006. Al Jazeera provided blanket coverage of the vote for a legislature, and was the first to report that Hamas had won while other media organizations were waffling. After it became clear that the two major Palestinian parties would not be able to create a government of national unity, and the world community moved to nullify the results of the elections, Al Jazeera named the Hamas government in Gaza, "the deposed government," much to the ire of the Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah.


Israel Attacks Lebanon

Al Jazeera had a significant role in reporting the July 2006 war from both sides of the borders. Its correspondents covered the loss of life - more than 1,000 Lebanese and 165 Israelis - and the severe damage to Lebanon's civilian infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced on both sides of the conflict.


2006 - Global Think Tank Launched

The Al Jazeera Center for Studies was founded in 2006 to provide deep research and data to Al Jazeera's journalists, and provide public platforms for the global exchange of ideas.

The Center is home to world-class researchers and authors. The Center hosts ad hoc seminars and background briefings by opinion leaders and decision makers, and publishes policy briefs and analysis throughout the year.

The Center organizes the annual Al Jazeera Forum, bringing thinkers, politicians, academics and journalists together to discuss regional and global transformations.

The University of Pennsylvania's Index ranks the Center in the Top 5 (out of 480) public policy research institutions in the Middle East and North Africa. (The Index is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who help rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of criteria developed at the University.)


2006: Launch of Al Jazeera International

Al Jazeera International (later renamed Al Jazeera English) launched on November 15, 2006, at midday GMT.

The channel was a major investment in the future of global media, bringing together some of the best English-speaking journalists from anywhere in the world together, under one roof.

At launch, the channel broadcast from Kuala Lumpur, London, Washington and Doha, but over time, the major news studios were set in Doha and London.

Original concept for Doha newsroom and studio of Al Jazeera English.

In the channel's newsrooms, people from dozens of different nationalities focused on the concerns of the Global South, providing fresh perspectives on the issues of our times. For years, the channel's motto was, "Voice of the Voiceless.

Within months of launch, the Channel cemented its position as a global presence in the media landscape, attracting audiences of millions in all four corners of the globe.



Exclusive Coverage of the Ogaden Issue

In 2007, Al Jazeera was one of the few media organisations that managed to enter Ogaden, a bitterly disputed region between Somalia and Ethiopia.

Al Jazeera filed five reports on the conditions of the residents of the province, triggering years of tension between Ethiopia and Al Jazeera.

Ten years later, Al Jazeera opened a bureau in Addis Ababa, on September 14, 2017.

2007 - Al Jazeera Documentary Channel

On July 1, 2007, Al Jazeera launched the Arab world’s first documentary channel, named Al Jazeera Documentary Channel.

The Channel supports Arab filmmaking by serving as an advocate for the Arab documentary industry. It airs portraits of the people and places that make up our world—raising awareness and inspiring millions of people across the Middle East.

Al Jazeera Documentary launches (2007).

The Channel has encouraged talented directors, writers, producers and visionaries who believe that documentaries are a unique and beautiful platform, and this has allowed the Channel to resonate with Arab audiences for more than a decade.

Making Human Rights Part of the Newsroom

Steeped in the belief that strong and vocal media can advance the cause of basic human rights, Al Jazeera established a permanent Human Rights desk within all of its newsrooms on November 1, 2008.

The desk focused attention on violations of civil liberties everywhere, with a special focus on the Arab world.

The Human Rights desks were reorganized and expanded into a Department in 2013. In 2015, the Public Liberties and Human Rights Centre was launched.

The Al Jazeera Center for Public Liberties & Human Rights participated in the General Assembly of the African Journalists Federation (Khartoum, Dec 13-14, 2018).


The Centre launches campaigns to create awareness of international humanitarian law and prevent the erosion of rights. With a special focus on the freedom of the press, the Centre also champions the cause of ending impunity for crimes against journalists.

All year round, the Center organizes workshops and seminars bringing human rights defenders together from different parts of the world.

The effort has been led by Sami al-Hajj, the only journalist to have been detained and tortured at the US internment camp in Cuba, Guantánamo Bay.

In Gaza, Al Jazeera is the Eyes and Ears of the World

Three years after withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, Israel launched a major military offensive there, starting on December 27, 2008. One of the first Israeli bombings was aimed at a graduation ceremony for police cadets, and Al Jazeera provided blanket coverage for the 22 days of war. By the end of the first day, more than 200 Palestinians had been killed, and by the end of the fighting, more than 1,100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis had been killed.

The United Nations later reported that war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed in Gaza. The report was headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone.

The Gaza wars unfolded live on Al Jazeera.

The Second Gaza War took place in November 2012, and again Al Jazeera was there, inside the Gaza Strip and on the Israeli side of the border.

In the Third Gaza War of July 2014, more than 2,000 Palestinians and 70 Israelis were killed.

Al Jazeera's bureau in Gaza continues to be the eyes and ears of the world in the embattled Strip.

Tension in Yemen

The years 2009/2010 were tough for journalists in Yemen.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh (resigned in 2012, assassinated in 2017) was waging war on Al Qaeda in Yemen, and a rebellion in the northern provice of Saada.

While covering a protest in Abyan, Al Jazeera journalist Fadhl Mubarak was seriously injured by unknown assailants in June 2009.

In March 2010, security forces broke in to Al Jazeera's bureau in Sana'a and confiscated broadcast equipment.

In November 2010, security forces temporarily detained a four-man Al Jazeera crew: Mubarak, Ahmed Shalafi, Sameer al-Nimri and Abdul Ghani Al-Shimairy.



Gaza Freedom Flotilla - Al Jazeera Live From the Sea

In May 2010, activists from around the world set out to travel by sea to connect to the people of the Gaza, despite the air, sea and land blockade imposed by Israel on the Palestinians in the Strip. The convoy of boats was called, "Gaza Freedom Flotilla."

Al Jazeera correspondent Jamal El Shayyal on the Mavi Marmara, which was leading the Gaza Freedom Flotilla when Israeli forces boarded and attacked on May 31, 2010, killing 10 people.


Partnering with WikiLeaks, Exposing Abuse in Iraq

In 2010, Al Jazeera teamed up with WikiLeaks to broadcast a series of programmes exposing the operations of US forces in the Iraq war.

Wikileaks had obtained a trove of 400,000 documents dated from 2004-2009, indicating that torture was sanctioned at the highest levels, that hundreds of Iraqi civilians had been killed at US-managed checkpoints in Iraq, listing violations by a major US mercenary firm, Xe (formerly Blackwater, currently Academi). amongst other abuses.

In April, Al Jazeera had covered the WikiLeaks video footage of a US army helicopter attack in Baghdad in which 12 people died, including two Reuters journalists. 

Some of the papers showed that the United States attempted to keep a death count throughout the war, in contradiction to the famous pronouncement of US Army Gen (ret) Tommy Ray Franks: "We don't do body counts" (March 23, 2002). Franks was Commander of the US Central Command at the time.

Al Jazeera partnered with WikiLeaks to provide an uncensored view of the war. The coverage was condemned by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Years later, the US Army intelligence analyst who leaked the documents, (born Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning), was pardoned from her 35-year jail sentence.


Palestine Papers - Al Jazeera Leaks Trove of Information

For four days in 2011, 23-26 January, Al Jazeera revealed to the world the "Palestine Papers."

The special coverage was dedicated to exposing the inner workings of the negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The coverage was based on more than 1,600 confidential documents, including memos, e-mails, maps, minutes of meetings, draft agreements, strategy papers and PowerPoint presentations from 1999-2010.

The disclosures offered a candid picture of the negotiation process, covering the Palestinian Authority's willingess to:

  1. Concede illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem
  2. Be "creative" about the status of Al Aqsa Mosque
  3. Make compromises on refugees and the right of return

Al Jazeera also exposed the nature of US pressure on Palestinian officials, and details on the extent of "security coordination" between Palestinian officials and their Israeli counterparts.

"The revelations from the heart of the Israel-Palestine peace process are the product of the biggest documentary leak in the history of the Middle East conflict, and the most comprehensive exposure of the inside story of a decade of failed negotiations," reported The Guardian, who partnered with Al Jazeera on this investigative project.

2011 – Birth of Al Jazeera Balkans

On November 11, 2011 (11-11-11), Al Jazeera Balkans was launched in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with major broadcast centers in Belgrade, Skopje and Zagreb.

Inside the studio of Al Jazeera Balkans Channel, which covers - and brings together - one of the most important parts of the world.

With impartial reporting that places people at the centre of the story, Al Jazeera Balkans has become a platform for open-minded journalism, along with serious debate. 

As the first regional news channel, Al Jazeera Balkans delivers programming and analysis in all local languages, providing local context to the topics that impact people at a regional and international level.

Broadcasting to nearly 4 million homes in the region and reaching viewers in more than 30 countries, Al Jazeera Balkans provides our audience with a breadth of coverage previously unavailable in the region. As part of the Al Jazeera Media Network, the Channel has access to more than 70 bureaus around the world, giving the people of the region the global coverage they want, from a local voice they trust.

Desperation & Hope From Tunisia

In December 2010, Al Jazeera was among the first global media organisations to report on a story circulating on Arab social media. The story was about a young man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who had set himself on fire after a police officer humiliated him as he was trying to earn his living in the southern Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid.

An interview with a tearful Ahmad Khifnawi in Tunisia went viral. "We have grown old waiting for this historic moment," he said.

That incident was a flame that sparked massive people-power revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen, in addition to smaller movements that were contained through the implementation of reforms in Morocco and Oman.

By January 14, 2011, the long-time strongman of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, had fled to Saudi Arabia and resigned.

In Egypt, the protests that began on January 25, 2011, led to the resignation of another decades-long leader, Hosni Mubarak, on February 11, 2011.

Al Jazeera dedicated all of its resouces to covering the Arab revolutions, giving voice to the hopes, dreams and aspirations of millions of people who yearned to live in freedom.


Clampdown on Al Jazeera Part III: 2011-2012

Throughout the Arab world in 2011, peaceful demands for change were facing brutal repression, and Al Jazeera's journalists were on the front lines of history in the making.

By March the government in Yemen had cancelled accreditation for Al Jazeera to operate there.

In the same month in Libya, the crumbling regime of Muammar Gaddafi detained an entire crew from Al Jazeera: Ahmed Vall Ould Dine, Ammar Hamdan, Lotfi Messaoudi and Kamal Talloua.

Poster demanding the release of Al Jazeera's journalists detained during the coverage of the Libyan revolution.

In April, Syrian forces arrested Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz. She was held in Syria starting on April 29, and then deported to Iran, before finally returning to headquarters in Doha after the 19-day ordeal.

In June, Al Jazeera journalist Osama Sidahmed was beaten by soldiers of the Sudanese Army while he was reporting in Ad-Damazin, in the Blue Nile state (southeast).

In August, Al Jazeera journalist Samer Allawy was visiting his family in Palestine when he was detained by Israeli forces.

In July 2012, Al Jazeera's Omar Khashram was seriously injured by shrapnel when a bomb went off near where he was reporting in Aleppo, Syria.

Al Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz was arrested by Syrian forces on April 29, 2011.

In November 2012, a cameraman in the Khartoum bureau - Ali Mustafa - was arrested and held for more than seven months by Sudanese forces. That government informally accused Al Jazeera of prior knowledge of a military coup against President Omar Bashir.

Cutting Through the Fog of War

Being the journal of record in the region, Al Jazeera has been on the frontlines in conflict zones since its birth. And its courageous reporters have paid the ultimate price time and again.

Eleven of the Arab world's finest journalists have been killed while reporting for Al Jazeera:

  • Iraq: 2
  • Libya: 1
  • Syria: 7
  • Yemen: 1

In Libya, Al Jazeera Arabic cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was killed as he covered fighting near Benghazi on March 12, 2011. The Qatari father of six was 55 years old. He held a master's degree in cinematography from Egypt, and had started his career in 1979.

Al-Jaber was the first foreign journalist killed in the Libyan revolution.

In Yemen, Al Jazeera journalist Mubarak Al-Abadi was killed by a mortar shell while covering clashes between pro-government and rebel forces in Al-Jawf province on August 5, 2016.

(See entry on journalists killed while covering Syria's war.)

Despite the high risks and difficulties of covering the wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the Arab world, Al Jazeera's journalists strive daily to get the facts straight and present solid information and analysis to the world.

By the end of 2018, Al Jazeera was officially banned from more than a third of Arab countries.

Egypt's Attempt at Freedom & the Crackdown on Al Jazeera

In the final days of the Mubarak regime in January 2011, the Egyptian government cancelled the license of Al Jazeera to operate in Egypt, withdrew all press accreditations for the Network and blocked the satellite transmission of Al Jazeera on Nile Sat, which is owned by the Egyptian government.

Al Jazeera doubled down on its coverage of Egypt. In Tahrir Square in 2011, protesters had installed a huge screen tuned to Al Jazeera around the clock.

Al Jazeera provided 24/7 coverage from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution (2011).

In February, Egyptian security forces arrested Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Cairo at the time, Abdul Fattah Fayed, along with Al Jazeera English correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and journalists Ahmed Yousif and Osama Abdul Aziz Hassan. 

In one of the regime's final acts of desperation, Al Jazeera's offices in Cairo were ransacked in February as well.

When former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down on February 11, 2011 - after ruling the country for three decades - Al Jazeera broadcast the iconic image of hundreds of thousands of cheering Egyptians in Tahrir Square, with no commentary.

On July 3, 2013, the Egyptian military carried out a coup against the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and suspended the constitution.

Security forces broke into Al Jazeera's bureau in Cairo and arrested 28 staff members, all from Al Jazeera Mubasher in Egypt, including the head of the Channel, Ayman Jaballah. They were all released, but Jaballah was later sentenced in absentia.

Also in July, Egyptian forces arrested Al Jazeera Mubasher cameraman Mohamed Badr. He would remain in jail for seven months before his acquital and release.

In the summer of 2013, Al Jazeera’s teams were spread across the country. One team was deployed in Rabaa al-Adawiya square, which had been a place for thousands of people to protest the coup peacefully up until August 14, 2013, when the military moved in to destroy it. Al Jazeera provided extensive coverage of the massacre that was committed there, described by Human Rights Watch as "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history." Hundreds of people lost their lives in the square.

Four Al Jazeera journalists were detained. One of the reporters for Al Jazeera Arabic, Abdullah al-Shami, was detained without charge for 10 months. He went on hunger strike for four months, and was finally released on June 17, 2014, and relocated to the headquarters in Doha. On September 8, 2018, al-Shami was sentenced in absentia to 15 years imprisonment.

Poster calling for the release of two Al Jazeera journalists, Abdullah Al Shami and Mohamed Badr, who were detained in Egypt in 2013.

Al Jazeera Mubasher's license to operate in Egypt was revoked.

And an entire crew from Al Jazeera English were detained for two days: Baher Mohamed, Russ Finn, Adil Bradlow and Wayne Hay.

In September, it was discovered that the Egyptian military was behind a sustained effort to distort the satellite signal of Al Jazeera, which was (and still is) free to air across the Arab world.

Four months later, four journalists with Al Jazeera English - Mohamed Fawzy, Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy – were arrested on December 29, 2013. Fawzy was released shortly thereafter, but the rest spent more than a year in jail. Al Jazeera launched a global campaign to protest the violations of press freedoms, #JournalismIsNotaCrime.

In June 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced Fawzy, Greste, Mohamed, Fahmy and five others to prison terms ranging between 7-10 years. The five are:

  • Khalil Bhanasy
  • Alaa Bayoumi
  • Anas Abdul Wahab
  • Dominque Kane
  • Sue Turton

Greste was released on February 1, 2015. Mohamed and Fahmy were released on February 12, 2015.

In May 2014 - taking a cue from Syrian authorities who had confiscated the property of one of Al Jazeera's most prominent talk show hosts, Faisal Alkasim - Egyptian authorities confiscated the personal property of Ahmed Mansour. Mansour was also a star talk show host. By October he had been sentenced in absentia to a 15-year prison term. In response to an Egyptian arrest warrant, Mansour was detained for a short while at the airport in Berlin in June 2015.

In June 2016, Egyptian courts sentenced one of Al Jazeera's former News Directors, Ibrahim Hilal, to death, while putting out an arrest warrant for Ayman Gaballah, the Managing Director of Al Jazeera Mubasher.

In December 2016, one month after Al Jazeera broadcast a documentary on compulsory inscription in Egypt, the authorities in Cairo arrested Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian journalist working in the headquarters of Al Jazeera in Doha. Hussein had traveled to Egypt to visit his family. As of mid-2018, Hussein had spent almost two years under interrogation, without charge.

Countless Egyptian journalists - some affiliated with Al Jazeera, others not - have been pursued relentlessly since the media crackdown that began in 2013.

In Syria, Seven Al Jazeera Journalists Pay the Ultimate Price

In the span of four years, Al Jazeera lost seven brave souls who defied everything to tell the world what was going on in the fog of Syria's war. 

Mohamed Al-Massalma was killed on January 18, 2013, by a sniper. He was a correspondent, covering the fighting in Deraa, in southern Syria.

Al Jazeera journalist Muhammad Al-Massalma (Al-Hourani) was killed by sniper fire as he covered events in Deraa in January 2013.

Hussein Abbas was killed on May 1, 2014. He was a citizen journalist on his way home after covering fighting in the outskirts of Idlib, in northern Syria.

Mohamed Al Qasim was killed on September 10, 2014, in an ambush staged by unidentified assailts, while on his way back from covering the fighting in the outskirts of Idlib.

Mahran Al Deery was killed on December 10, 2014. He was a digital correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, en route to cover clashes in Sheikh Miskeen, a suburb of Deraa.

Mohammed al-Asfar was killed on June 26, 2015. He was a cameraman, and was filming clashes in the Manshiya neighborhood of Deraa.

Zakariya Ibrahim was killed on December 7. He was a cameraman, and he was hit by shrapnel while covering the bombardment of a suburb of Homs, in western Syria.

Al Jazeera cameraman Zakaria Ibrahim was killed in December 2015 during the bombing of Homs.

Ibrahim Al Omar was killed on July 11, 2016. He was a reporter for Al Jazeera Mubasher killed in a Russian air strike on Termaneen near Idlib.


Hello America

On August 20, 2013, Al Jazeera launched an independent 24/7 news channel based in New York, Al Jazeera America. The channel was lauded for its level-headed coverage of politics, culture and business in North and South America, and brought fresh perspectives from around the world to a US audience.

On January 13, 2016, CEO Al Anstey announced that the Channel would be shut down on April 12, 2016. The decision by the board of the Channel was “driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace,” Anstey said.


2014 - Al Jazeera Sues Egypt

In September 2013, Al Jazeera announced that it would consider legal recourse to force the Egyptian government to respect the media outlets’ right to work freely in Egypt, and to stop Egypt's prolonged harassment of Al Jazeera journalists and properties.

On April 18, 2014, Al Jazeera sought arbitration with Egypt under a branch of the World Bank known as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, DC.

According to a 1999 Bilateral Investment Treaty between Egypt and Qatar – which guaranteed fair treatment of investors in each country – Al Jazeera had to wait for six months before formalizing the arbitration process. Al Jazeera waited more one year for the Egyptian government to engage in fruitful discussions.

On January 20, 2016, Al Jazeera officially registered the dispute with the World Bank panel, citing breaches of the Bilateral Investment Treaty. The violations included detention of numerous staff without charge, sentencing others in absentia (including the death sentence of top editor Ibrahim Helal), jamming satellite transmissions, and the compulsory liquidation of Al Jazeera’s offices in Egypt –which had previously suffered attacks by military and para-military gangs supporting the government of Abdel Fattah Sisi since July 2013.

Al Jazeera estimated monetary losses in Egypt of at least $150 million.

On April 5, 2017, Al Jazeera requested “urgent and necessary” provisional measures in the case.

Cases before ICSID tribunals take years to resolve, especially if they are “non-traditional,” such as freedom of expression and human rights.

Hello Turkey

On January 23, 2014, Al Jazeera Türk was launched as a digital platform, and soon established itself as a trusted voice in the vibrant Turkish media landscape.

Al Jazeera Türk launch party in Istanbul.

On May 3, 2016, the website and its platforms were shut down as part of a "workforce optimization" carried out by Al Jazeera Media Network, according to a statement from the Network, which added that the decision to shut down the platform was difficult but "consistent with the developments in the media industry worldwide."


AJ+, Leading the Social Media News Revolution

With passion, creativity, commitment to bringing new voices into the conversation and willingness to take risks, AJ+ grew from a small San Francisco creative shop in 2013 into an international brand, with millions of viewers across the globe.

On September 15, 2014, Al Jazeera formally launched AJ+. Specializing in videos optimized for mobile devices, it quickly shot to the forefront of the social media news revolution.

From left to right: Egyptian media personality Basem Yousef, AJ show host Nicholas Khoury, and the Managing Director of AJ channels, Dima Khatib, at the launch party for AJ Arabi in Dubai in 2016.

Today AJ+ produces world-class storytelling in four languages. AJ+ Español launched in 2015, AJ+ Arabi launched in 2016, and AJ+ français launched in 2017.

Challenges to Covering the War in Yemen

After Saudi Arabia launched its military intervention in Yemen in March 2015, the country became more dangerous than usual for journalists.

In January 2016, Al Jazeera's crew in Taiz - led by correspondent Hamdi Bukary - were abducted at gunpoint. They were later released.

In August, Mubarak Al-Ebadi, a Yemeni journalist freelancing with Al Jazeera, was killed while reporting on the fighting in Al Jawf, in the northern part of the country. (See entry on all Al Jazeera journalists killed in the line of duty.)

Al Jazeera Hosts International Press Institute

From March 19-21, 2016, the International Press Institute held its 65th Congress in Doha, in partnership with Al Jazeera.

Under the banner of "Journalism at Risk," IPI members from across the globe exchanged experiences on best practices for journalists to cover events safely and independently.

At the IPI's 65th Congress in Doha.

IPI is a global network of journalists, editors and media executives from nearly 100 countries from across the world and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 1950 to defend media freedom and the free flow of information.


Al Jazeera Hosts World Media Summit

On March 21, 2016, Al Jazeera hosted more than 350 delegates of media organizations from 100 countries in Doha as part of the World Media Summit.

The two-day summit was themed: "The Future of News and News Organizations."

The WMS Presidium at the time included 10 leading news organizations:

  1. Xinhua News Agency
  2. CNN
  3. Reuters
  4. Associated Press
  5. International Information Agency "Rossiya Segodnya"
  6. Al Jazeera Media Network
  7. ITAR-TASS Russian News Agency
  8. Kyodo News
  9. MIH Grouo
  10. The Hindu

Opening ceremony of the World Media Summit in Doha.

The World Media Summit was launched by Xinhua, and the first summit was held in Beijing from Oct. 8-10, 2009.

On July 5, 2012, the second World Media Summit was held in Moscow.

2016 - New Lineup in Programming for Al Jazeera Arabic

On its 20th birthday (November 2016) Al Jazeera Arabic undertook its biggest shifting of programming in years, with 14 new shows launching on the screen:

1) This Morning (هذا الصباح): A daily morning show.

2) More to the Story (للقصــة بقيــة): A weekly talk show that starts with a 30-minute documentary on a current issue, then a discussion hosted by Fairouz Ziani.

3) Off the Script (خارج النص): Documentary series on the lives of writers and artists that have dared to go against the grain.

4) More Than Meets the Eye (ما خفي أعظم): Chasing leads to open mysteries. Presented by former Gaza correspondent Tamer Misshal.

5) Ground Zero (المسافة صفر): Current affairs documentary series hosted by Salam Hindawi.

The morning show was added to Al Jazeera's lineup in November 2016.

6) The Interview (المقابلة): Personal interviews. Now defunct, as the host, Ali Dhufairi (a Saudi citizen), was forced to resign from Al Jazeera at the outset of the Gulf crisis.

7) Entrepreneurs (رواد الأعمال): Documentary series on Arab business pioneers worldwide.

8) Expatriates (مغتربون): Documentary series on influential Arabs abroad.

9) The Traveller (المسافر): Exploring different countries and cultures with Hazem Abu Watfa. 

10) Above Authority (فوق السلطة): Weekly talk show that looks at current affairs with a sarcastic lens. Hosted by Nazih Al-Ahdab.

11) The News Race (سباق الأخبار): Host Mahmoud Morad opens it up for the viewers to vote on the top story of the week, and the top personality of the week.

Nazih Al-Ahdab takes a cynical look at the week's news.

12) Eye of Al Jazeera (عين الجزيرة): Roundtable discussion with Al Jazeera reporters around the world, hosted by Abdul Qader Ayyad.

13) Scenarios (سيناريوهات): Launched in November 2017, host Mhamed Krichen hosts a discussion laying out different ways current conflicts may run their course over time.

14) Smart Life (حياة ذكية): Launched in May 2016, this tech show focuses on the latest developments in technology, and how they intersect with our lives.

After 10 years, Al Jazeera dropped "Palestine in Focus," which showcased Palestinian filmmakers.

Other changes included the cancellation of Palestine In Focus after a 10-year run, and a total makeover for Al Jazeera's nightly newshour, Al-Hasad (The Day's Harvest). Instead of a traditional one-hour news broadcast covering the events of the day, the show now focuses on the three biggest topics of the day, and devotes about 20 minutes to each.


Journeys in Immersive Journalism

On April 12, 2017, Al Jazeera launched its own 360° video platform, Contrast VR. This immersive studio houses all of the Network's virtual reality and augmented reality storytelling initiatives.

Pushing the boundaries of narrative storytelling.

Gulf Tensions Spill Over to the Media

Almost immediately after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia on May 20, 2017, the region entered a long period of destabilization.

Three Gulf countries banned Al Jazeera's websites on May 24, and Egypt followed suit the next day.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia withdrew the license for Al Jazeera to operate in the country, and on the next day, Jordan followed suit.

On June 9, Saudi officials threatened to cancel the license of any hotel in the kingdom that offered Al Jazeera in its guest rooms.

For a few hours on June 17, 2017, the main Twitter handle of Al Jazeera Arabic – with 12 million followers at the time – was suspended.

Officials in Riyadh demanded that any Saudi nationals who worked for Al Jazeera resign. On June 21, Al Jazeera lost a well-respected talk show host, Ali Dhufairi, amongst other journalists.

On September 13, 2017, Snap Inc. was requested by the Saudi government to block its residents from accessing Al Jazeera on its Snapchat app. Four days later Snapchat complied.

Snap had been in long discussions with Al Jazeera in the run-up to launching Arabic channels in Snapchat Discover, and Al Jazeera had just become available in May of that year. A few months later, a Saudi prince invested $250 million in Snap Inc.

The political rift between Qatar and her neighbors dominated the headlines in the second half of 2017.

For the Love of Audio

On November 1, 2017, Al Jazeera launched an audio-first media brand, Jetty. The podcast studio specializes in finding diverse voices and developing original news and entertainment for global audiophiles. Jetty debuted with Closer Than They Appear, hosted by Carvell Wallace, who presented a mashup of personal narratives and conversations about life in modern-day America.

In October 2018, Jetty launched, "The Take," a look at the week's most important issues.

In March 2018 the studio launched "Game of Our Lives," a series of conversations with sports writer David Goldblatt, focusing on the intersection between football (aka soccer) and power, race, class, gender and culture. Over the course of two seasons (Season 2 launched in June 2018), Goldblatt examined the dual themes of globalisation and human nature through the lens of the world's most popular sport. 


Al Jazeera Balkans Launches Film Festival

AJB DOC was held for the first time in Sarajevo from 21-25 September, 2018.

The film festival, targeting TV broadcast documentaries, announced three awards: Grand Prize, Al Jazeera Balkans Programmes Department Jury Award, and the People's Choice Award. More than 300 films from 30 countries competed.

The leadership of Al Jazeera Balkans said the festival is one of the ways the Channel is promoting documentary film and supporting filmmakers in Central Europe.

Nerminka Emrić’s film "A Feat of Perseverance" won the most votes in the Audience Award.

Dominating the media landscape in the region since 2011, Al Jazeera Balkans has produced more than 400 documentaries, acquired more than 200, and translated more than 1,500 from Al Jazeera's sister channels, according to Edhem Fočo, director of AJB DOC Film Festival.

Members of the international jury are recognized and experienced professionals working in the field of documentary expression: Karin Hayes (New York), Ingrid Falck, (London), Montaser Marai (Doha), Robert Tomić Zuber (Zagreb) and Zoran Galić (Banja Luka).

AJMN sponsors DISCOP Johannesburg 2018

Al Jazeera Media Network sponsored DISCOP Johannesburg 2018 on November 14-18. DISCOP is Africa’s top confab for content production and distribution.
A delegation from Al Jazeera Media Network attended the annual event to connect with African distribution platforms and companies, expand opportunities of content acquisition from the African market and get more exposure for the Al Jazeera brand. Their objective was also to increase distribution of Al Jazeera's channels on platforms in Africa.

Al Jazeera team at DISCOP 2018.

More than 1,000 delegates representing 783 companies attended the expo, including ad agencies, design studios and media leaders.

Bilaal Hoosein, Director of Programs for Al Jazeera English, participated in a panel discussion that focused on the subject of “Developing the Right Format & Documentaries for International Distribution.”