With more than fifty million viewers, Al Jazeera is one of the most widely watched news channels in the world. It's also one of the most controversial. Set up by the eccentric Emir of Qatar, who turned a failed BBC Arabic television project into an Arab news channel, Al Jazeera quickly became a household name after September 11th by delivering some of the biggest scoops in television history, including airing a taped speech from Osama bin Laden. Lambasted as a mouthpiece for Al Qaeda, little is actually known about Al Jazeera and its operations.
Financed by one of the weathiest countries in the world, Al Jazeera quickly established itself as the premiere news channel in the Islamic world by covering events Arabs cared about in a way they had never seen before. However, accusations of ties to Al Qaeda continue to plague it. Their journalists have been accused of spying for everyone from Mossad to Saddam Hussein, sometimes simultaneously. This the story behind the Arab news channel that makes the news.