Television

Al-Jazeera launches English website

DUBAI: Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera launched an English-language website on Monday, five months after hackers brought down a temporary site at the height of the Iraq war.

News coordinator and spokesperson of the channel, Susi Sirri said the site - english.aljazeera.net - will fill a niche for English speakers, who want to take a look at the Arab perspective.

According to Sirri, the new site works closely with the television station and its Arabic counterpart, launched in 2001. The site currently has a staff of nearly 50 Western and Arab journalists, says an AP report.

Six months ago, on March 24, a temporary version of this English site went online to cover the Iraq war, but was reportedly brought down by hackers within a day. In June, the 24-year-old hacker John William Racine II of Norco, California, had pleaded guilty to felony charges of wire fraud and unlawful interception of an electronic communication.

Racine, a web designer, had admitted that he intercepted e-mails and content from Al-Jazeera and rerouted users to another site showing the American flag and the phrase 'Let Freedom Ring'.

He had allegedly captured about 300 Al-Jazeera e-mail messages, got the password by posing as a networking contact and communicating with Network Solutions.

US, British and even Arab officials have criticized Al-Jazeera's coverage of events in the Middle East and its airing of al-Qaeda statements, accusing the station of sensationalism, bias, and incitement.

However, another section of people in the region view the the site as a courageous addition to the Arab world's mostly state-run media.

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