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Report: Al Jazeera to block English stream in the U.S.

The online feed for Al Jazeera English will no longer be available in the United States in August, according to a report.

MondoWeiss reported via sources on Thursday that Al Jazeera English’s online stream will soon be geographical blocked for viewers attempting to watch in the United States.

The move to block American access to Al Jazeera English online coincides with the launch of sister-channel Al Jazeera America, which is replacing Current TV in August.

Mondoweiss reported the news as an exclusive, though there were hints that the Qatar-based satellite network would move to block its English channel from being viewed in the United States as Al Jazeera America was in development.

When the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera was announced, the Wall Street Journal reported that Al Jazeera English would “temporarily stop streaming online.” That was supposed to happen in April, though it never did. The channel continued to stream on its website, on devices like iPads and Rokus and on third party services like LiveStation and YouTube.

Al Jazeera’s decision to sever Americans from its free English stream would be disappointing — especially for those who don’t have access to cable or satellite TV — but it would not be unexpected. Though the stream could still be viewed in the United States with the help of a VPN service, most Americans who want to watch the channel will probably request it from their cable or satellite operator — and that’s just what Al Jazeera is hoping, especially after some companies like Time Warner Cable threatened to drop the channel before it even launched.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).