Qatar says it is considering proposals to sell the pan-Arabic al-Jazeera satellite television network.

A spokesman for the U.S. allied Qatar government said Doha decided more than a year ago to study whether the state-sponsored network could be privatized.

Both popular and controversial, al-Jazeera has come under harsh criticism from the United States for what it alleges is its biased coverage of the Iraq war. Several Arab governments have also blasted the station for criticizing Arab leadership in other countries.

The Bush administration has repeatedly accused the network of what it calls inflammatory reporting in Iraq, arguing that it encourages violence against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tiny Gulf nation set up al-Jazeera in 1996 as the first Arabic-speaking news channel, hiring reporters from a failed Arabic television station run by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Some information provided by AP.