Two new television deals mean that New Zealand viewers are for the first time able to watch global news channel Al Jazeera English.
From today, on SKY channel 090, Al Jazeera’s offering of news, documentaries and programmes from over seventy bureaus worldwide will be beamed into nearly half of New Zealand homes reaching around two million people.
And from 1st November, Al Jazeera will be on Freeview HD channel 16, broadcasting live and free to air.
Al Jazeera already reaches more than 270m homes in over 130 countries. The channel has been decorated with the highest awards in journalism recently, including Peabodys, a DuPont, George Polk, Scripps Howard and Amnesty International Media Awards.
A number of Kiwis can be seen on-screen including Johannesburg-based correspondent Tania Page, and Science and Tech reporter Tarek Bazley. In the studio, bulletins are anchored by former TV3 journalists Kamahl Santamaria and Elizabeth Puranam. Ex-TVNZ journalist Wayne Hay has been in the global headlines this week after being detained by authorities in Egypt while reporting for Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said:"We’re incredibly pleased to be making these breakthroughs in New Zealand, and look forward to offering to viewers our in-depth global journalism, marked with integrity. The world is a village, and what happens on the other side of the planet has an effect on us, whether that be on the climate, economy or war. With our global reach, we aim to continually cover stories that are about the big issues, but crucially also about real people."
Freeview General Manager, Sam Irvine, said Al Jazeera enjoys a strong following in New Zealand and Freeview HD households will welcome the addition of the news channel. “Al Jazeera is one of those channels that viewers have often asked us about. So it’s great to meet the demand and offer the channel free to air on Freeview HD,” Mr Irvine said.
Al Jazeera is well-known for it’s coverage of major global events like the Arab uprisings, but has also excelled in diverse investigations and long-form programming. The channel aired a documentary about the education campaigning of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai two years before she was shot by the Taliban. Cooperating with outlets including The Guardian and the New York Times, Al Jazeera published the Iraq War Logs, documents that shed new light on the war and ultimately led to the imprisonment of leaker Bradley Manning. Al Jazeera English was also the first channel to interview Lance Armstrong’s doctor.