Social media indeed played a part in the Arab uprisings. Networks formed online were crucial in organizing a core group of activists, specifically in Egypt. Civil society leaders in Arab countries emphasized the role of "the internet, mobile phones, and social media" in the protests. Additionally, digital media has been used by Arabs to exercise freedom of speech and as a space for civic engagement.
Arab-American news outlets find they must compete with this abundance of online content in order to evolve alongside readers who are increasingly turning to the internet for information. Newspapers have made the greatest inroads here so far, with most offering at least some form of digital content, while still maintaining print versions for older generations and those who prefer a physical newspaper. Radio programs, in light of the continuing challenge to find advertising sponsorship, are beginning to shift online. Arab-American television, on the other hand, has yet to even really find a place amid the satellite programming available from Arab countries.
There are numerous Arab satellite channels and networks broadcasting news across the Middle East and North Africa, many of which can be accessed in the United States on websites such as Live Station, as well as over satellite because they are "free-to-air" feeds. Free-to-air programming is transmitted in unencrypted form, allowing anyone with the appropriate equipment to receive the signal and view content without a cable or satellite subscription. This means channels not available from cable or major satellite providers are accessible via free-to-air services. Viewers in the United States are able to pick up the signals from the Arab news channels, usually over satellite Galaxy 19.
Al Jazeera English is slowly gaining popularity in the United States. While Arab news channels in the Middle East and North Africa tend to be delivered to U.S. audiences exclusively via satellite or online, Al Jazeera English is also carried by a handful of cable providers-Time Warner Cable, Buckeye Cable, Burlington Telecom, Full Channel, Comcast, and Verizon Fios. The cable markets that have access to Al Jazeera English are New York, N.Y.; Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vt.; Bristol, R.I, and the Washington, D.C. region.
Al Jazeera's first day on the air was 1 November 1996. It offered 6 hours of programming per day; this increased to 12 hours of programming by the end of 1997. It was broadcast to the immediate neighborhood as a terrestrial signal, and on cable. Al Jazeera is also available through satellites (which was also free to users in the Arab world), although Qatar, and many other Arab countries barred private individuals from having satellite dishes until 2001.
At the time of the Al Jazeera Media Network launch, Arabsat was the only satellite broadcasting to the Middle East, and for the first year could only offer Al Jazeera a weak C-band transponder that needed a large satellite dish for reception. A more powerful Ku-band transponder became available as a peace-offering after its user, Canal France International, accidentally beamed 30 minutes of pornography into ultraconservative Saudi Arabia.
Al Jazeera was not the first such broadcaster in the Middle East; a number had appeared since the Arabsat satellite, a Saudi Arabia-based venture of 21 Arab governments, took orbit in 1985. The unfolding of Operation Desert Storm on CNN International underscored the power of live television in current events. While other local broadcasters in the region would assiduously avoid material embarrassing to their home governments (Qatar has its own official TV station as well), Al Jazeera was pitched as an impartial news source and platform for discussing issues relating to the Arab world.
However controversial, Al Jazeera was rapidly becoming one of the most influential news agencies in the whole region. Eager for news beyond the official versions of events, Arabs became dedicated viewers. A 2000 estimate pegged nightly viewership at 35 million, ranking Al Jazeera first in the Arab world, over the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) and London's Arab News Network (ANN). There were about 70 satellite or terrestrial channels being broadcast to the Middle East, most of them in Arabic. Al Jazeera launched a free Arabic-language web site in January 2001. In addition, the TV feed was soon available in the United Kingdom for the first time via British Sky Broadcasting.
Al Jazeera's availability (via satellite) throughout the Middle East changed the television landscape of the region. Al Jazeera presented controversial views regarding the governments of many Arab states on the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar; it also presented controversial views about Syria's relationship with Lebanon, and the Egyptian judiciary. Critics accused Al Jazeera Media Network of sensationalism in order to increase its audience share. Al Jazeera's broadcasts have sometimes resulted in drastic action: for example, when, on 27 January 1999, critics of the Algerian government appeared on the channel's live program El-Itidjah el-Mouakass ("The Opposite Direction"), the Algerian government cut the electricity supply to large parts of the capital Algiers (and allegedly also to large parts of the country) to prevent the program from being seen. Al Jazeera's popularity has been attributed to its in-depth coverage of issues considered to be of great importance to the international Arab population, many of which received minimal attention from other outlets, such as: the Palestinian perspective on the second Intifada, the experiences of Iraqis living through the Iraq war, and the exclusive broadcast of tapes produced by Osama Bin-Laden.
On 4 July 2005, Al Jazeera officially announced plans to launch a new English-language satellite service to be called Al Jazeera International. The new channel started at 12:00 GMT on 15 November 2006 under the name Al Jazeera English and has broadcast centers in Doha (next to the original Al Jazeera headquarters and broadcast center), London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C. The channel is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week news channel, with 12 hours broadcast from Doha, and four hours each from London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C.
Though Current TV had large distribution throughout the United States on cable and satellite television, it averaged only 28,000 viewers at any time. The acquisition of Current TV by Al Jazeera allowed Time Warner Cable to drop the network due to its low ratings, but they released a statement saying that they would consider carrying the channel after they evaluated whether it made sense for their customers. Time Warner Cable later began carrying Al Jazeera America in December 2013.
In October 2009, Al Jazeera acquired six sports channels of the ART. On 26 November 2009, Al Jazeera English received approval from the CRTC, which enables Al Jazeera English to broadcast via satellite in Canada.
The original Al Jazeera channel is available worldwide through various satellite and cable systems. For availability info of the Al Jazeera network's other TV channels, see their respective articles. Segments of Al Jazeera English are uploaded to YouTube or at 
Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Al Jazeera can be freely viewed with a DVB-S receiver in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East as it is broadcast on the Astra 1M, Eutelsat Hot Bird 13A, Eutelsat 10A, Badr 4, Turksat 2A, Thor 6, Nilesat 102, Hispasat 1C and Eutelsat 28A satellites. The Optus C1 satellite in Australia carries the channel for free and from July 2012 is available at no extra charge to all subscribers to Australia's Foxtel pay-TV service.
United Kingdom. Al Jazeera English is available on the Sky and Freesat satellite platforms, as well as the standard terrestrial service (branded Freeview), thus making it available to the vast majority of UK households. On 26 November 2013, it launched a HD simulcast on certain terrestrial transmitters.
United States. Al Jazeera English is not widely available, as it is not carried by Xfinity or the other major cable television systems which package and market most commercial television in the United States. It can be viewed online via its live stream on its website, DVB-S, Galaxy 19, and Galaxy 23 C-band satellites.
Al Jazeera Media Network's web-based service is accessible subscription-free throughout the world, at a variety of websites. The station launched an English-language edition of its online content in March 2003. This English language website was relaunched on 15 November 2006, along with the launch of Al Jazeera English. The English and Arabic sections are editorially distinct, with their own selection of news and comment. Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English are streamed live on the official site, as well as on YouTube. On 13 April 2009 Al Jazeera launched versions of its English and Arabic sites suitable for mobile devices.
In 2014, Al Jazeera Media Network launched an online only channel called AJ+. The channel is based out of the former Current TV studios in San Francisco and has outposts in Doha, Kuala Lumpur and other locations. It is independent of all of Al Jazeera's other channels and is mostly in an on demand format. The channel launched on 13 June 2014 on with a preview on YouTube. This was followed in 2017 by the launch of Jetty, a podcast network which is also based out of the former Current TV studios in San Francisco.
In 2021, Al Jazeera launched a new online platform called "Rightly" aimed at a conservative US audience. "Right Now with Stephen Kent" is Rightly's first show and is an opinion-led, in-studio interview program hosted by Stephen Kent. Right Now is available on YouTube and as a podcast. It was reported that over 100 staff at Al Jazeera signed an open letter to management objecting to the launch, with some of them voicing their unhappiness with Rightly on Twitter. In 2022, Al Jazeera reportedly stopped creating content for the program. 2b1af7f3a8