Al Jazeera wants Court Case Kept Secret

So much for transparency in the media.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Al Jazeera America is trying to avoid unsealing a lawsuit it filed last year accusing AT&T of improperly keeping the news channel off AT&T's U-verse cable-television lineup.

Al Jazeera got into the U.S. cable market by acquiring Al Gore's Current TV. But AT&T refused to give space to the U.S. version of the Qatar-based channel on U-verse, although it had carried Current TV.

Each side said the other breached the affiliation agreement that governs their relationship, but the details on how aren't known because much of the case is under seal.

After being ordered to unseal the complaint, Al Jazeera said it would drop the case, wiping the public record clean of the lawsuit. Journalists, including a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, objected to the sealing last year. Several news organizations continued efforts to unseal the case.

AT&T didn't appeal the order to unseal the case, but Al Jazeera, which has won dozens of journalism awards, fought on.

Ordered by the Delaware Court of Chancery to unseal most of the heavily redacted complaint, Al Jazeera appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court. The newest entrant to the U.S. news market said it would suffer competitive harm if details of its gripe with AT&T were made public.

The Delaware Supreme Court on May 30 declined to take the case, leaving Al Jazeera no further avenue of appeal.

On Wednesday, Al Jazeera went back to the Court of Chancery and said the channel had come to terms with AT&T and would seek to have the case dismissed, erasing the complaint and related papers from the public record.