Al-Jazeera Gets Sign Up at RNC

In the upper reaches of Madison Square Garden (search), the satellite news channel Al-Jazeera (search) perches in a media skybox right next to Fox 5 News.

During the Republican National Convention (search), which starts on Monday, Al-Jazeera will be allowed to display its lightbox sign just like any other news channel here — something that didn't happen at the Democratic National Convention in Boston last month.

After receiving permission from Democrats to display the Al-Jazeera sign in Boston, crew members discovered that it had gone missing. "It was very mysterious," said technician Wayne Coleman, who works with the ABC crew providing support to Al-Jazeera.

Convention officials said they needed the space to put up a banner. Al-Jazeera's sign eventually resurfaced in Burlington, Mass., some 15 miles away from the convention site. They purchased a new one for the Republican convention.

A spokeswoman for Al-Jazeera could not be reached for comment.

"There's been no problem here," Coleman said.

If the Democrats gave Al-Jazeera a frosty reception, they might have expected more of the same from the Republicans.

The Bush administration has criticized Al-Jazeera for its coverage of the Iraq war, which Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has called "violently anti-coalition."

Now, the broadcaster will have a prominent position behind the stage and immediately to the right, from a viewer's perspective. The new four foot by six foot Al-Jazeera lightbox could well show up in every TV station's cutaway shot.