As part of my PhD research into Al Jazeera’s expansion I’ve written a couple of journal articles about the network’s presence in Australia. If you’re into that sort of thing …
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera has expanded at great pace since its inception in 1996, growing from a single Arabic-language news channel serving the Middle East, to a multilingual network of dozens of channels broadcasting around the globe. Al Jazeera’s growth in many parts of the world depended on securing satellite and cable/pay television carriage, but neither of those broadcast channels offered the network significant access to the Australian market. While Al Jazeera has for most of its time in Australia struggled to attract a large television audience, it has experienced success via partnerships with the Australian public broadcasters and through online engagement. Drawing on interviews with key managerial and editorial staff at Al Jazeera and the Australian public broadcasters, this article tracks Al Jazeera’s presence in the Australian media landscape from the network’s launch until the present day and analyses the network’s strategy with respect to Australian expansion.
Bridges, S. (2016). Al Jazeera in Australia. Communication Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/22041451.2016.1209273
The Al Jazeera Media Network had a relatively low profile in the Australian media landscape until its English-language news channel signed reciprocal broadcast agreements with the two Australian public broadcasters in 2010 and 2011. As a result of those agreements, Al Jazeera English programs are now rebroadcast on the ABC and SBS’s terrestrial TV channels, and its content has become an important component of the public broadcasters’ in-house television and radio news bulletins. The agreements are mutually beneficial: through them Al Jazeera has achieved its greatest ever Australian broadcast reach, increased its brand awareness among Australians, and gained credibility through association with the respected ABC and SBS; while the public broadcasters have added breadth and depth to their international news at little-to-no cost in an age of shrinking news budgets. Drawing on content analysis and interviews with key managerial and editorial staff at the ABC and SBS, this article examines exactly what Al Jazeera English material the public broadcasters use, and how, finding that Al Jazeera offers the ABC and SBS’s viewers and listeners an additional perspective on news from around the globe. The article also summarises public and commentator reaction to Al Jazeera’s partnerships with the public broadcasters, demonstrating that the Qatari broadcaster does not face in Australia the kind of opposition it does in countries such as the USA.
Bridges, S. (2016). Al Jazeera and the Australian Public Broadcasters. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 9(1), 99-118.