Often called the Arabic CNN or BBC, Al Jazeera Satellite Network operates a 24-hour satellite news channel serving more than 50 million viewers in the Middle East and around the world. Its independent news coverage, notable in a region where most media is strictly government-controlled, covers the gamut of regional and world politics, economics, and human-interest feature stories. Al Jazeera is broadcast in both Arabic and English, and it operates news Web sites in both languages. The network was started in 1996 by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. The name means "the peninsula" in Arabic, in reference to the Arabian Peninsula.