Editor's note: Al Jazeera has tweeted that 3 of its journalists arrested in Paris were merely filming a report on the mysterious drones over the city. The account - @AlJazeera - promises more information. - Tom
Al Jazeera (Arabic: الجزيرة al-ǧazīrah IPA: [æl dʒæˈziːrɐ], literally "The Island", abbreviating "The Arabian Peninsula"), also known as Aljazeera and JSC (Jazeera Satellite Channel), is a Doha-based broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. Al Jazeera is accessible in several world regions. Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar. While Al Jazeera officials have stated that they are editorially independent from the government of Qatar, this assertion has been disputed. Al Jazeera was the subject of a split in the Gulf Cooperation Council that prompted the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to recall their ambassadors from Qatar on 5 March 2014.
The original Al Jazeera channel's willingness to broadcast dissenting views, for example on call-in shows, created controversies in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The station gained worldwide attention following the outbreak of war in Afghanistan, when it was the only channel to cover the war live, from its office there.
In the 2000s, the network was praised by the Index on Censorship for circumventing censorship and contributing to the free exchange of information in the Arab world, and by the Webby Awards, who nominated it as one of the five best news web sites, along with BBC News, National Geographic and The Smoking Gun. It was also voted by Brandchannel readers as the fifth most influential global brand behind Apple, Google, Ikea and Starbucks. In 2011, Salon.com said Al Jazeera's coverage of the 2011 Egyptian protests was superior to that of the American news media. Hillary Clinton stated that the US was losing the information war as "Al Jazeera has been the leader in that [they] are literally changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective," she said. The channel aims "emphasizing news from the developing world, without an Anglo-American world-view".
Some observers have noted that the network reports the news mainly from liberal Arab nationalist and moderate Islamist perspectives and having a pro-Sunni and an anti-Shia bias in its reporting of regional issues. The network has also been accused of being pro-American.