Aljazeera has a lot of ex-BBC staff, it was offering bigger ticket contracts over a longer period during a time when the BEEB was shedding staff and turning programme production over to "independents".
Aljazeera should also be available on mobile telephones shortly via a UK company www.vidistream.tv at Â£5 per month plus the GPRS charges. (you'll need a smartphone and a suitable tariff plan).
Its free to air on
Aljazeera International Channel (11034 V) started reular programming on HotBird 6 @ 13Â° East
Aljazeera International Channel (11509 V) started reular programming on Astra 1KR @ 19.2Â° East
Aljazeera International Channel (11681 V) started reular programming on Eurobird 1 = 28.5 East
Aljazeera International Channel (12322 H) started reular programming on Thor 3 @ 0.8Â° West
Aljazeera International Channel (12399 H) started reular programming on Thor 3 @ 0.8Â° West
As for bias, hell, there're all biased just try watching Fox or CNN for a day or so. My Grandfather always read the Telegraph and the Morning Star, so at least he knew where the bias was coming from. At least getting it from the source eliminates one lot of spin.
The BBC tried to set up an Arabic satellite channel but the Saudis kept interfering with the editorial content, so they gave up => about 200 staff were laid off and the majority went to Al-Jazeera which was just starting up.
The new version of the website is glossy and has good coverage of the Middle East, but as Taz says, it is a bit like another version of the BBC. This was always the fear of the staff at Al-Jazeera (Arabic) - that the English version would end up as a watered-down version of Western channels.
They have also disposed of all the old news articles on the website, which is tremendously annoying as they had a good archive of news going back three of four years. They have also ditched the opinion columns.
Haven't seen the satellite channel yet but hoping not to be disappointed.