Rounding out the top five 2004 Global Brands is a surprise winner: the Arab-focused, 24-hour news source Al Jazeera. Based in Qatar and offering an alternative to BBC or CNN, Al Jazeera has over 35 million viewers (overwhelmingly Muslim) and 30 bureaus worldwide. As the issues of 2004 hovered heavily around the Middle East and Islamic populations, Al Jazeeraâ€™s relevancy soared.
Though suffering difficulties such as banned reporters, advertising boycotts, and charges of bias (arguably stemming from those who are themselves biased toward European and American interests), Al Jazeera is viewed as relatively independent within its region and is increasingly gaining mainstream credibility beyond its borders. The company itself claims to â€œcover all viewpoints with objectivity integrity and balance.â€
Already offering news in English at www.English.AlJazeera.net, the media source is planning to offer an English channel satellite service in 2005.