Wingnuts pushed telco towards censorship of Al Jazeera

Right-wing nuts leaned on AT&T to block an affiliation agreement with Al Jazeera America.

The accusation comes in an ironically heavily censored description of the alleged “bad faith scheme” which has been presented to court.

Al Jazeera said that the deal was blocked because of AT&T’s subscriber base in conservative states such as Texas.

Apparently AT&T was worried that honouring the contract to Al Jazeera would lose it the support of its conservative customers and began try and find an excuse to unilaterally terminate the Affiliation Agreement.

Al Jazeera America launched last week but AT&T’s U-verse pay-TV service did not carry the network.

AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel said that Al Jazeera has mischaracterised the facts. He said that Al Jazeera had messed around and AT&T terminated the agreement and will no longer carry Current TV on U-Verse.

Al Jazeera has had a lot of trouble getting distributors in the US. This is because it was perceived by some as being anti-American during the Iraq war. During the war, while many US channels were treating the war like a fixed sports match, Al Jazeera was providing balanced coverage.

Before AT&T’s announcement, Al Jazeera America said it would be available to more than 40 million people and roughly half the reach of Time Warner CNN.

Al Jazeera’s lawsuit wants the court to declare AT&T to be in material breach of the affiliation agreement, ordered to honour the agreement and write a big cheque.

It also said that AT&T was aware that Al Jazeera would be offering a new news and information service that would replace the Current service, and that it would be called ‘Al Jazeera America’.

After the merger Al Gore would no longer be an equity holder or director of Current, or have any “other involvement with Current or Al Jazeera,” the lawsuit states.