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Al Jazeera Signs Deal to Air Throughout U.S.

Friday, 16 Jan 2009 07:17 AM

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NEW YORK - The Al Jazeera Network plans to announce on Thursday that it has signed a deal to run its news on Worldfocus, a syndicated nightly news program produced in New York and distributed throughout the United States.

The deal would help the international news network, one of the top services in the Arabic-speaking world, broaden its reach in the United States, where it so far has been available to only a limited audience.

Worldfocus, hosted by former NBC News correspondent Martin Savidge, is produced by New York City public broadcaster WLIW and syndicated to a number of Public Broadcasting Service affiliates, as well as other stations in 60 U.S. markets, including 27 of the top 30.

Al Jazeera declined to disclose terms of the deal.

The service's Arabic-language network is available in the United States through the DISH Network Corp. It has been trying to increase the distribution of its English- language network through cable television, but so far is available only in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio and Burlington, Vermont.

One of its English-language programs, "Witness," reaches viewers through the LINK TV network, which is distributed by DISH Network and others.

Al Jazeera also is expanding its presence on the Internet, with a YouTube channel, a Twitter feed on the Gaza war and a free broadcast at an online service called Livestation.

The network, whose English broadcasts appear all over the world through deals with companies such as Singapore's SingTel and Hong Kong's PCCW, has started running ads in papers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, advertising its Web presence with the slogan, "Find out what you're missing."

Al Jazeera has increased its marketing campaign, particularly during Israel's air-and-ground offensive into Gaza that began about three weeks ago.

It also plans to begin running ads in several weeks that a spokesman said will address misconceptions about the network in the United States. The U.S. government criticized the network for irresponsible and biased news reporting when the United States launched the 2003 war in Iraq.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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