Al Jazeera English’s ‘Witness’ Gets U.S. Distribution

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Al Jazeera English’s International Emmy-nominated program Witness will appear weekly in the United States on Link TV, officials said Wednesday.

The deal will make Al Jazeera English’s Witness available in over 30 million U.S. households via cable and satellite, including DirecTV and Dish Network.

Hosted by Rageh Omar, Witness is a half-hour documentary program that brings world issues into focus through courageous human stories and provocative debate.  Each documentary reveals the unknown lives of ordinary people, telling their stories and portraying the challenges that confront them, network officials said.

“We are pleased to present one of Al Jazeera English’s signature programs to a United States audience through Link TV,” Kimeran Daley, head of North American distribution sales for Al Jazeera Network, said in a prepared statement. “Link TV’s commitment to showing international news and thought provoking programming makes them an ideal partner for Al Jazeera English in America.”

Link TV currently reaches 36 million households in the United States on cable and satellite. Al Jazeera English, in contrast, has been struggling to gain U.S. carriage, with only a few launches, including Buckeye CableSystem in Toledo, Ohio, and a municipal cable system in Vermont, Burlington Telecom.

Witness will be a positive addition to our current line-up of critically acclaimed programs,” Lorraine Hess, Link TV’s vice president of acquisitions, said in a prepared statement. “At Link TV we believe in airing programs that provide a unique perspective on international news, current events and cultures while presenting issues that are not often covered in the U.S. media.”

Al Jazeera English, which launched in November 2006, and was recently awarded “Best 24 Hour News Program” at the 48th Annual Monte Carlo Television Festival. The channel also recently received its first two International Emmy nominations, in both news and current affairs, for its groundbreaking coverage of the military crackdown in Myanmar and for a Witness program on the Red Mosque.

Witness will air weekly on Mondays starting Oct. 6 at 11 p.m. ET immediately after the Peabody award-winning original program Mosaic. It will also repeat on Wednesdays.

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