Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 07, 2011

In-depth TV news reports from Egypt by Al Jezeera earn wider respect for Arab network

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Look for a report on media coverage from Egypt, such as news about journalists in Cairo.
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Can you find comments from Egyptians in the U.S. or Arab-Americans in your community?
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Read an editorial or opinion column about Egypt's future and discuss how it makes you feel about the anti-government protests.

This may surprise you: The TV news operation with the largest staff in Cairo, Egypt, and the most comprehensive coverage of unrest there isn't CNN, BBC or another Western network. It's Al Jezeera, an Arab satellite channel that has an English-language offshoot. The independent channel, which reaches 300 million people in the Arab world and beyond, is widely praised for timely, fair and influential reporting on the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak that began Jan. 25. "Thank you for what you're doing, Sam Donaldson of ABC News said to an Al Jezeera reporter during an on-air discussion. "That's what we need. We need more communication in the world."

The scrappy network, based in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar and partly financed by its government, was created in 1996 and has become hugely popular with Arab viewers whose only TV news previously came from government stations. "The concept of an independent news channel was truly revolutionary," says Wadah Khanfar, the network's top executive. Al Jazeera (pronounced aal-JEZZ-ear-AHH) added an English channel in 2006, but it's not widely available in the U.S. Past critics had accused the network of an anti-American bias, and most cable system operators don't offer it. "That's quite worrying, as the U.S. media market rests on sturdy democratic principles," comments Khanfar.

In Cairo now, the network is the target of government supporters. Its phone lines have been cut, staffers have been detained, its satellite signal has been repeatedly blocked and late last week, the network says, a "gang of thugs" smashed equipment at its Egyptian capital bureau and set it ablaze. Yet Al Jezeera has remained on air, broadcasting live images of street crowds and airing phone interviews with analysts and correspondents across the country.
The English version's website, which streams 24-hour video coverage, has experienced a surge in U.S. visitors. More than 3.5 million viewers had seen its live feed by last Friday, Al Jazeera says. "Many people are switching us on in the United States for the first time, thereby increasing the pressure on the operators to actually put us out onto people's TVs," says Al Anstey, managing director of the English staff.

Al Jezeera executive says: "Ever since Al Jazeera's English channel first sought to broadcast in the [United] States, roadblocks have marked every turn. . . . It's mind-boggling that Al Jazeera remains absent on cable and satellite television across almost all of the U.S." -- Wadah Khanfar, network's director general

U.S. broadacster says: "It's not Al Jazeera's fault that Mubarak is under siege now." -- Sam Donaldson, past White House bureau chief at ABC News

Media scholar says: "Al Jezeera English is a channel we need badly in the United States." -- Erik Nisbet, professor of communication at Ohio State University