Al Jazeera English cleared in Singapore


SINGAPORE -- Al Jazeera English has been cleared for broadcast here, the Qatar-based news channel said Wednesday.

Local sources said the approval followed careful screening by local authorities and broadcasters for any indication that the channel might disrupt Singapore's fiercely protected racial harmony policies.

The Media Development Authority's media content division director, Amy Chua, confirmed Wednesday that the MDA had approved an application by SingTel to offer the Al-Jazeera English channel on the same terms and conditions as other channels on the platform. No public announcement of the application approval was made.

Al Jazeera English said the channel would be available to viewers in Singapore in the coming weeks.

"This is yet another positive step in our global expansion efforts, one that should offer us interesting new opportunities in Singapore," said Phil Lawrie, Al Jazeera English's head of global distribution.

Mio TV representatives said a carriage deal was still being negotiated and that it was still too early to talk about a local rollout.

If a deal is reached, Al Jazeera joins news channels such as MediaCorp's Channel NewsAsia and Taiwan's ETTV News on the four-month-old Mio TV, which has about 20,000 subscribers against incumbent cable operator StarHub's 500,000.