WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Al-Jazeera has some competition in the Arab world.

Ghassan bin Jiddo – a former Al-Jazeera journalist who quit last year – launched Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen Monday.

The Associated Press reports that the station promises to support the Palestinian cause and all forms of “resistance.”

“We will fight sectarianism and stand against colonialism and foreign intervention,” bin Jiddo told the AP. “The station’s compass will always be turned to Palestine and the resistance.”

The new network is facing criticism that it has ties to Iran and Syria and is a platform for Hezbollah. Bin Jiddo denies those claims.

“We do not speak in the name of Iran or the Syrian regime, we are a completely independent channel which reflects reality as it is,” bin Jiddo explained to the AP.

The network employs up to 500 people and has reporters stationed in Gaza, Ramallah and Jerusalem. It has three regional offices in Tunisia, Cairo and Tehran.

While networks like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya are funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, bin Jiddo has refused to say who is monetarily backing Al-Mayadeen.

Al-Mayadeen is also competing with BBC News Arabic and Sky News Arabia.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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