Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Want My Al Jazeera!

I began last month by supporting the case Alessandra Stanley made for providing Al Jazeera English as a channel option on American television on the ArtsBeat blog of The New York Times.  I concluded with a Post Script providing a hyperlink to the Al Jazeera English channel on YouTube.  Since then I have had my first brush with television access to the Internet as a “side effect” of my decision to purchase a Blu-ray Disc Player.  The Samsung box that I purchased included an Internet@TV option;  and I was able to establish the connection to our in-house Wi-Fi signal with almost no difficulty.  Yesterday I finally got around to browsing the Samsung AppS library and had no trouble finding their YouTube application.  The bad news was that it could only retrieve and play short clips, meaning that I could not get to the live streaming feed available on the YouTube site;  but this was still a small step forward for a media industry whose sclerosis may yet be its undoing.

The good news is that the YouTube feed into my computer is just fine, as is the quality of the signal when I watch it on my full-screen monitor.  So, in the tradition of Hosni Mubarak’s “testimony” that he turned to CNN when Desert Storm began, I used this feed as my “go to” site for yesterday’s news of the first round of attacks on Libya.  Yes, things were a bit clunkier than one would find on BBC World Service Television;  but at least the coverage was not all about media personalities like Diane Sawyer (former assistant to Richard Nixon) and combat-ready Christiane Amanpour.  Furthermore, the Al Jazeera Arabic team must clearly be in the thick of things, because four of them have been arrested by Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces.  Therefore, out of respect for my “new best friend” for reliable television news (even if it comes off of a computer monitor), I wanted to give the names of these four journalists in recognition of what they are doing to advance the cause of “hard news:”
  •  Ahmed Vall Ould Addin, correspondent
  •  Kamel Atalua, cameraman
  •  Ammar al-Hamdan, cameraman
  •  Lotfi al-Messaoudi, correspondent

None of this is likely to advance the cause of making Al Jazeera English available to more television viewers, but I feel it is important to give credit where credit is due.

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