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Al Jazeera launched a new U.S. news channel, Al Jazeera America, on Tuesday.
Tension arose around the network’s debut when AT&T U-Verse unexpectedly dropped the network late Monday night. Al Jazeera said it will take court action for AT&T’s inability to fulfill contractual obligations.
Controversy also surrounds Al Jazeera’s decision to start restricting online access to the news channel, an attempt to curb internet competition which threatens news networks. Many argue that Al Jazeera is regressing in an era that is operating increasingly more online.
The New York Times quotes Rob Reynolds, an Al Jazeera English correspondent, “Al Jazeera is now blocking all [online] A.J.E. videos from the U.S.A. [...] It’s a form of corporate censorship that would make the Chinese Politburo jealous. And an incredible show of disrespect to all the reporters operating in the U.S. who have helped build Al Jazeera’s brand name [via Internet] in this country.”
While the news network has succeeded internationally, it’s failed to gain U.S. viewership in the past. Al-Jazeera English blamed the hostility of George Bush’s administration for the anti-American sentiment which surrounds Al-Jazeera, reports BBC News.