Al Jazeera English (AJE) began broadcasting in Canada on Wednesday. The network has also revealed its plans to open a bureau in Toronto. The channel is available via three cable TV operators in the country.
Negotiations for carriage in North America have been arduous with US services finally commencing last summer.
“We are extremely pleased that AJE’s groundbreaking news and programming is now available in Canada,” said Tony Burman, managing director, Al Jazeera English.
“Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Canada and hear first-hand the great demand for the channel. I believe that our cutting-edge reporting and programming will fill an important void by bringing another voice in international news to this important market,” added Burman.
Burman also revealed the opening of a bureau in Toronto to be staffed by Canadian-born journalist Imtiaz Tyab and producer jet Belgraver.
The Arabic-language service was granted carriage in Canada previously with the condition that cable service operators edit out scenes of violence and other sensitive content. The carriers baulked at the demand with most opting not to run the channel rather than incur the expense of editing. The AJE deal is understood to carry no such conditions.
Despite maintaining a base of operations in Washington, 24-hour carriage in the US market has proved elusive for AJE, which launched in 2006 and is available in more than 100 countries.
The service is available on Bell TV, Rogers Cable TV and Videotron.