Oct 14 Al Jazeera must unseal its lawsuit
against AT&T Inc within five business days after a
Delaware judge sided on Monday with news organizations that
objected to secrecy in the case.
The dispute stems from AT&T's refusal to carry the U.S. news
network that was launched by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera in
The two sides have sought to keep under seal all information
regarding their contract, which Al Jazeera said was breached and
wrongfully terminated by AT&T. The two argued that making such
information public would hurt their negotiations with other
channels and cable companies.
The heavily redacted court filings prompted objections from
news organizations including the Associated Press, Bloomberg
News and Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
Sam Glasscock, the judge overseeing the case, said he found
that neither Al Jazeera nor AT&T established that "good cause"
existed to keep the pertinent aspects of lawsuit under seal.
"Those who decide to litigate in a public forum (rather than
pursue in a private dispute resolution procedure) must do so in
a manner consistent with the right of the public to follow and
monitor the proceedings and result of the dispute," Glasscock
wrote in a 19-page opinion.
The judge also ordered unsealed a transcript from a Sept. 24
But the details of the lawsuit may still remain out of the
public eye. Glasscock said the parties could appeal and ask the
Supreme Court of Delaware to keep case under wraps.
Al Jazeera reaches more than 250 million viewers globally,
but has had a tough time gaining a foothold in the United States
where it has been perceived by some as anti-American.
In January, Al Jazeera bought Current TV, founded by former
U.S. Vice President Al Gore, for its distribution agreements
with carriers such as AT&T, which says it reaches 5 million
AT&T has said Al Jazeera's lawsuit mischaracterized the
The case is Al Jazeera LLC v. AT&T Services Inc., Delaware
Chancery Court, No. 8823.