Al Jazeera venturing into Canada

CRTC inviting public comment on application

TORONTO -- Al Jazeera's English-language 24-hour news channel said Tuesday that it will apply for regulatory permission to launch on the Canadian airwaves.

The application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission comes four years after the TV watchdog ordered domestic cable and satellite TV carriers to edit the Arabic-language Al Jazeera channel if they wanted to offer it to subscribers.

Not wanting the extra expense of monitoring the Arabic Al Jazeera channel for Osama bin Laden speeches and beheadings, no Canadian carrier has chosen to launch the Arabic-language Qatar-based service in Canada.

Al Jazeera English said it will include a news bureau in Canada if the CRTC greenlights entry into this market. The English-language channel is headed by former Canadian Broadcasting Corp. executive Tony Burman as its managing director.

The CRTC will invite public comment on the Al Jazeera English application before it decides on whether to grant market entry. Canadian Jewish groups four years ago were vocal opponents of allowing the Arabic Al Jazeera channel into Canada.