Newrating has a short article that explains that Apple Computers was voted the most influential brand of 2004, on the strength of its iPod product, pushing Google into second place. Good news for Apple, and well deserved, considering how innovative they have been over the past few years with products like OS-X, Power Mac or Mac Mini, as well as the iPod of course.
But the most interesting part of the article is not about the first or second place, it's about the fifth entry in the global brands, Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news channel based in Doha, Qatar (not to be confused with Al-Jazeera Publishing, based in Dubai, UAE). Since its launch in 1996, Al-Jazeera has become the most important and most impartial news agency in the Middle East, giving a voice to the Arab world. The Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts have made the agency reknown worldwide, albeit mainly because it is the one channel through which Osama bin-Laden and Iraqi terrorists would talk, by sending Al-Jazeera video footage that they would show on their web site. On the other hand, the fact that Al-Jazeera would show this footage is proof that it is reasonably free from censorship and has the potential to grow into a major news channel. Some will say it is biased towards Arab interests in its reporting, although not more than CNN or FOX News are biased towards American interests I think. Anyway, it gives the rest of the world a local view of Middle Eastern affairs, which had been blatantly missing up to now. It can only be good to have access to another point of view on that particular part of the world. So, well done Al-Jazeera.
I found the original BrandChannel article via Slashdot.