Sunday, June 3, 2012

International Broadcasters

The following 7 news outlets are English-language international broadcasters. All but one (CNN International) are funded by foreign governments. I discussed international broadcasting that is funded by the United State government in my post on the BBG. For those who are tired of hearing about the meaningless trial tabloid stories that occasionally overwhelm mainstream US television news (Kardashians, the Sarah Palin bus tour, Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan’s legal troubles, Royal Weddings, etc. ad infinitum.) some of these outlets can offer substantive world news coverage as an alternative.   


BBC News is funded by the British government. BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC provides news to Britain and has a separate branch, called BBC World News, which broadcasts internationally in a variety of languages. In the US, BBC News can sometimes be found on local public radio or public television stations. BBC News is a standard bearer in producing high quality world news.

France 24

France 24 is funded by the French government. It broadcasts in French, English, and Arabic. It produces high quality news as well.

CNN International

CNN International (CNNI) is an English-language news channel that is the version of CNN viewers outside of the US see. It is owned by the Time Warner corporation and, unlike the rest of the international broadcasters profiled in this post, is not funded by a government. CNNI carries some of the same shows as CNN US, such as Anderson Cooper 360, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Piers Morgan Tonight, and State of the Union with Candy Crowley. Many of CNNI’s shows, however, does not appear on CNN US. These include International Desk and Amanpour. CNNI has covered the Arab Spring protests in Bahrain. CNN US has not.

Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera English (AJE) is funded by the government of Qatar, a small nation in the Middle East.  Its sister channel is Al Jazeera Arabic. AJE is an incredibly high-quality world news channel.

In addition to its daily reporting, AJE has several specialty programs as well. People and Power is an hour-long program that investigates the some of the world’s most interesting and important topics. Listening Post is a show that examines the global media.

Here is a story from NPR’s On the Media that discusses the clash between supporters and opponents of access to Al Jazeera English on a local cable system in Vermont.

Russia Today

Russia Today (RT) is funded by the Russian government. RT America is a sister channel that has many of the same programs but has more shows that focus on the US. RT has sister channels that broadcast in Russian, Spanish, and Arabic.

RT has a bad habit of bringing on conspiracy theorists as credible guests. Birthers, Truthers, and the notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have all found a platform on the channel. RT also skews its coverage of stories that could show Russia in a negative light. This kind of malpractice is hardly unique to RT, however. The US Press skews the coverage of stories that could portray US foreign policy in a negative light as well.

None of this is to say that RT doesn’t produce some valuable reporting; it merely means that RT should be watched with a skeptical eye. RT has some specialty programs that I enjoy. I watch The Alyona Show, The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, and Julian Assange’s show on RT.


CCTV News is funded by the Chinese government.

Press TV

Press TV is funded by the Iranian government.

In 2009 Press TV aired a confession from Maziar Bahari, a Canadian-Iranian journalist, which was obtained through torture. The confession was staged to look like a normal interview. Bahari had been charged with espionage and was released after spending 4 months in an Iranian prison.

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