On one of the mailing lists I subscribe, Rani quoted an article from Reuters saying that the leading Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera said that it has been in talks with the Singapore government since early this year, hoping to get the go-ahead to broadcast in Singapore by year-end.
According to Nigel Parsons, the managing director of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera English channel, Singapore was cautious about allowing it to broadcast in Singapore because of criticism of the channel in the United States. Al-Jazeera, which attracted millions of viewers after it aired exclusive footage from Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the wake of the September 11 attacks, has been accused by the US (who else?) of biased reporting on Iraq and "supporting" terrorism.
Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) said that it was still assessing Al-Jazeera, saying that "as with all foreign channels, the authorities will need to make assessments based on criteria such as public expectations and interest, as well as the ability to meet local programme standards."
Will be very interesting to see how the Singapore government will follow-up on this matter, as we have known, Singapore is quite strict in enforcing their controls over the media. And considering that Singapore is a close ally of the United States, I foresee that Al-Jazeera will be having difficulties in getting the broadcast rights.
As what Mr. Parsons has pointed out, "We understand that we have to be patient".