Plural Perspectives

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Thursday, 31 January 2008

Judging the Merits and demerits of Aljazeera English

Are there some commentators overwhelmed by an urge to become an executioner before even pretending to be judge and jury? An even-handed approach demands to judge a news channel on its demerits and merits. In Aljazeera's case, many haste to pass a judgement prior to looking at it sufficiently enough and objectively enough.

Al Jazeera English's Far East Correspondent Hamish Macdonald won Royal Television Society's Young Journalist of the Year Award for 2007 while it's Africa correspondent Haru Mutasa was also among the three nominees.

Al Jazeera English was nominated for news channel of the year in its first year of broadcasting and was up against BBC News 24 and 2006’s winner Sky News. The awards were presented on 20 February 2008 at a ceremony at the London Hilton, hosted by ITV News at Ten’s Julie Etchingham.

Over all, Aljazeera English won Royal Television Society Television Journalism Award nominations in the following categories:

News - International

Afghanistan: Taliban Embed - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English
News Channel of the Year Al Jazeera English

Young Journalist of the Year Hamish Macdonald - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English Haru Mutasa - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English

Even a cursory glance at AJE's accomplishments in its first year suggests that with just twelve months since its launch Al Jazeera English has proved a unique news channel winning nomination in recognition of its professional quality and technical accomplishments. This shows AJE's potential to set new standards in the coming years.

Al Jazeera English has been awarded three awards at the BDA World Gold Awards. AJE was presented with three Bronze trophies at the 2007 PROMAX & BDA International Conference in New York 14 June 2007 in the categories of Art Direction & Design: Topical Campaign; Art Direction & Design: Image Campaign and Website-News.

This follows Al Jazeera English receiving one Gold and two Silver trophies for their innovative and fresh Creative Direction at the Promax/BDA Global Promotions & Design Conference in Dubai in March 2007. In June 2007 Al Jazeera English channel came in second position at the Broadcast Digital Channel Awards receiving 'Highly Commended' in the category of 'Best News Channel of the year'. Thus within a few months of being on-air only since November 2006, AJE is accruing worldwide recognition. Wadah Khanfar, Director General of the Al Jazeera Network says that all these nominations are "a testament to the strength of the Al Jazeera brand. We look forward to building on these early successes into the future."

Al Jazeera English was also nominated for awards at the One World Media awards in the categories of: 1. Broadcast Journalist of the Year: Nadene Ghour; Popular Features: 48 in Damascus, Amanda Palmer; MDGs Award: Malaria Week, The News Team.

Al Jazeera English was nominated for a total of eight awards at Promax/BDA Global Promotions in the following categories:

Best Programme Promo: Witness (AJE’s daily documentary strand)
Best Promotional Campaign: Splits-Best Sales & Marketing Presentation:
EPK (Electronic Press Kit)
Best Original Logo Design: AJE Design & People & Power Logo-
Best Animation: AJE DES People & Power Animation-
Best News & Factual Programme Title: People & Power, GOLD AWARD-
Best Sports Programme Title Sequence: Sportsworld Best Set Design: News, Silver Award.

At the 12th Asian Television 2007 Awards, it won the award for Best Single News/Report (Kylie Grey, Orange) Environment Special, and came runners-up for Best news programme Half Hour Bulletin-from Kula Lumpur. This came in addition to several other programmes that were nominated for the following:

For best documentary programme (People & Power: Exxon in the Dock)

News Report: Tony Birtley, Bangladurjoy

Best current affairs presenter, Teymoor Nabili for 101 East ;

It may be safe to conclude that critics may remain unable to come up with a comparable example of a news channel winning so much professional acclaim within first twelve months of its launch.

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