Al /Jazeera gets nod to broadcast in Canada

Canada’s broadcasting regulatory commission announced yesterday that it will allow Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network to broadcast in English in Canada. In a statement, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said authorizing Al Jazeera to broadcast “will expand the diversity of editorial points of view in the Canadian broadcasting system.

“Further, despite concerns expressed by certain parties, there is nothing on the record of the current proceeding that leads the commission to conclude that (Al Jazeera) would violate Canadian regulations, such as those regarding abusive comment,” the commission said.

The 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week English-language international news service is currently available in over 100 countries and via the Internet. In 2004 the CRTC authorized Al Jazeera’s Arab language service to broadcast in Canada but only under criteria so strict it required broadcasts to be monitored for breaches, and so no satellite or cable service provider has yet opted to offer the channel.

More than 2600 parties filed comments with the CRTC in support of Al Jazeera’s latest request, arguing it would increase diversity of Canadian television, while 40 parties opposed the bid. Opponents accused the broadcaster of “unbalanced reporting” and “abusive” commen//taries.