By Bonny Ibhawoh,

In my recent trip across Eastern and Southern Africa, I was quite surprised to see the growing influence of Al Jazeera TV channel in the continent. It was available in all the hotels I stayed in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala. Most middle class homes with cable television now have access to Al Jazeera’s 24 hour news service. It is increasingly becoming the news source of choice across the continent. Its programming, which focuses more on the global South, seems to haves truck a chord among many Africans. Yet, this TV station is still not available on cable in the US and Canada. No American cable network will carry Aljeezeera because of the perception that it is a propaganda outlet for Islamic jihdists. We may debate and disagree on the objectivity and credibility of Al Jazeera as a news source but it says a lot about the growing polarization of our world that a news channel that is so influential in shaping minds and opinions of so many people accross Africa and the Middle East is not even available to the US and Canadian public. Any wonder why the gulf between the West and rest keeps widening?