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Al Jazeera America Blocked News Videos Unavailable to US Watchers

Image: Al Jazeera America Blocked News Videos Unavailable to US Watchers

By Michael Mullins   |   Monday, 19 Aug 2013 12:22 PM

Al Jazeera America, which is set to launch Tuesday, has blocked American viewers from accessing its online news videos as of last Thursday.

The decision to block American audiences from viewing their international news videos is apparently a concession on the part of the Persian Gulf-based television news network to get U.S. TV operators to carry them, Gigaom.com reported.

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American visitors to AlJazeera.com or their YouTube page are greeted with the message:
"The video you are trying to watch cannot be viewed from your current location. Visit AlJazeera.com/America to view content available in the U.S."

Before its acquisition of Al Gore's Current TV for the purchase price of $500 million, which was announced in early January, Al Jazeera had relied on the Internet to share its coverage with American audiences considering few U.S. cable providers would air its network.

Owned by the government of Qatar, the Pan-Arab news channel has long been considered anti-American for having aired messages from deceased al-Qaida terror leader Osama Bin Laden and its critical coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Consequently, the network has had a difficult time gaining a foothold in American homes.

Prior to the Current TV acquisition, it only reached viewers in a few large U.S. metropolitan areas, including New York and Washington, where about 4.7 million homes were able to watch Al-Jazeera English.

With its purchase of Current TV, Al Jazeera will boost its reach through Al Jazeera America by nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes.

In addition to preventing Americans from viewing their news videos, of which there are approximately 41,000 uploaded to YouTube alone, notes Gigaom.com, the Persian Gulf-based network has also removed its news program stream as well.

How many of the 41,000-plus news videos will be made available on Al Jazeera America's website and to what extent they will be edited for American audiences is unclear.

With its launch Tuesday, Al Jazeera America will provide 14 hours of straight news on a daily basis, The New York Times reported.

In addition to having correspondents spread throughout the globe, courtesy of its mother network, Al Jazeera America will reportedly have a staff of more than 900 employees in bureaus located in 12 major U.S. cities.

Al Jazeera America will be headquartered in New York City, situated on the first floor of the New Yorker Hotel near midtown Manhattan.

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