A decade of growth

Al Jazeera has turned 10. After initially broadcasting for six hours a day from Doha in Qatar it now has more than 30 bureaux and an estimated worldwide audience of 50 million viewers. We take a look at some of the key moments in the organisation’s history.

Al Jazeera has shaken off the traditional image of Arab media

November 1, 1996: Al Jazeera channel is launched, transmitting six hours a day.

The station quickly becomes a phenomenon in the Arab world by offering its audiences freedom of thought, independence and room for debate, in a region where the media are often tightly controlled and censored.

December 1998: Al Jazeera comes to international prominence being the only news network to have reporters in Iraq during Operation Desert Fox.

Its footage of the war is made available to international news outlets, it is the first time that many outside the region see the Al Jazeera logo.

January 1, 1999: Al Jazeera expands its schedule to 24 hours a day and is now transmitted in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.


During the second Palestinian intifada, Al Jazeera becomes a forum for all sides involved in the unrest and its coverage wins international acclaim for its exclusive footage and quality of reporting.


January: Al Jazeera launches its Arabic news website.
October: Al Jazeera is the only foreign broadcaster with reporters in Kabul at the start of the war in Afghanistan and news networks the world over broadcast the channel’s coverage of the conflict.

Al Jazeera has causedcontroversy by airing tapes
Al Jazeera has causedcontroversy by airing tapes

Al Jazeera has caused
controversy by airing tapes

Al Jazeera airs the first statement by Osama bin Laden, two hours after the US-led coalition begins military strikes against Afghanistan.


March: During the war in Iraq, Al Jazeera has comprehensive coverage with reporters stationed in four cities there, capitals across the Arab world, and at Centcom headquarters in Doha, Washington DC, the Pentagon, plus a reporter embedded with the US military.

Al Jazeera provides extensive coverage of the US and the Iraqi sides of the story.

September: Al Jazeera.net in English is launched.

November: Al Jazeera launches a sports channel and Al Jazeera Mobile.


Al Jazeera is recognised as the fifth-most influential brand in the world.

February: Al Jazeera training and development centre is founded.

April: Al Jazeera is the only television channel in the world to broadcast from inside Falluja during the US military siege of the city, giving the world its only window on civilian casualties there as the channel’s journalists come under fire while reporting.

December: During the Asian tsunami disaster, Al Jazeera provides the world’s first images of the devastation in Aceh, Indonesia.


April: Al Jazeera Mubashar (Live) is launched.
June: Al Jazeera moves to its new studios and launches a new on-air look.

Al Jazeera's coverage of thefamine in Niger inspired others
Al Jazeera’s coverage of thefamine in Niger inspired others

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the
famine in Niger inspired others

June: Al Jazeera’s coverage of the little-reported famine in Niger is picked up by wire agencies and within days other international broadcasters are on the ground and donations and food begin to arrive.

July 4: Al Jazeera announces plans for an English-language satellite service.

September: Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, a joint venture with the Qatar Foundation, is launched.


July 30: After the Israeli attack in Qana, Lebanon, Al Jazeera takes its anchors off the air and continuously plays images of the resulting damage for several hours. The video also showed bodies as they were removed from the rubble. According to the Lebanese Red Cross, at least 28 Lebanese died there, including 16 children.

November 1: Al Jazeera celebrates its tenth birthday by announcing November 15 as the launch date for its English language service.

Source: Al Jazeera