We noted back in September that KPFT might begin broadcasting Al-Jazeera content as part of a deal by the Pacifica network, which owns the Houston station and four others in the U.S.
Some of Pacifica's supporters warned at the time against the move, but now it appears to have gone through.
KPFT staffers have been informed that an English-language Al-Jazeera segment will be part of the news lineup beginning tomorrow at 5 a.m.
KPFT management said security will be beefed up as a result.
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Pacifica is venturing into a programming area likely to be controversial in some quarters. While we do not expect issues, it is best to anticipate problems before they arise. KPFT is working with law enforcement to ensure there is more attention paid to our facilities, and so they know of the potential for problems.
Here's how the new partner was described to staffers:
The subject of the documentary Control Room, Al Jazeera is an internationally recognized media organization which has won scores of honors for its journalism. It has also been controversial, having been banned in the Mideast at various points for airing dissident views as well as becoming a target of the Bush Administration. A U.S. missile destroyed its offices in Kabul, Pakistan in 2001. In 2003, the Pentagon contracted with the Rendon Group to target Al Jazeera reporters who strayed from the Administration's message on the Iraq invasion.
As we noted earlier, controversial programming is not exactly unheard of at KPFT. We'll see how this addition goes.