TV Tussle

Al Jazeera sues Dallas-based AT&T U-Verse for refusal to carry network

Al Jazeera sues Dallas-based AT&T U-Verse for refusal to carry network

Al Jazeera America launched in 12 U.S. cities on August 20, but one network shut out the Qatar-owned company in the final hour.

Bloomberg News reports that Texas-based AT&T U-Verse abruptly dropped the channel, prompting Al Jazeera to file a lawsuit against the largest phone company in America. The lawsuit, which was filed in Delaware, claims that AT&T is in violation of its contract agreement with Al Jazeera.

When the company purchased Al Gore's fledgling cable network Current TV for around $500 million, it inherited the infrastructure to broadcast in 48 million American homes with Comcast, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV and Dish Network. 

Time Warner Cable has thus far refused to carry Al Jazeera America, though the company is reportedly still in negotiations to do so and no lawsuit has been filed. 

The debut of Al Jazeera America's signature nightly news program "America Tonight" offered in-depth coverage of turmoil in Egypt, disease in Haiti, homelessness in Detroit and potential human rights violations in New Orleans Parish Prison. 

In a conference call with reporters ahead of the network's launch, interim CEO Ehab Al Shihabi characterized Al Jazeera America's coverage as containing less opinions, yelling and celebrities than current mainstream media outlets.

Al Jazeera America
Al Jazeera America launches in 12 U.S. cities August 20.
AT&T U-verse
AT&T U-Verse has approximately 5 million customers in the U.S.