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View Diary: Current TV sold to Feudal Lord. Al Gore sells out. Anger??? (136 comments)

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  •  Well yes Qatar is an ally but (18+ / 0-)

    so what? The US has lots of awful allies. Leaving aside the question of Gore's sale, there's been a lot of objections to the control that the Qatari government is exerting on its news coverage. AJ is still important but it seems to be deteriorating:

    The long-time Berlin correspondent for Al Jazeera, Aktham Suliman, recently resigned from his post. The journalist tells DW that the Qatari government is exercising undue influence on Al Jazeera's reporting.

    DW: You've criticized Al Jazeera as lacking in professionalism, and you've quit your post as the broadcaster's Berlin correspondent. Is Al Jazeera following a specific agenda?

    Aktham Suliman: I have to say that professionalism is now lacking at Al Jazeera. When I started in 2002, I didn't have that impression - quite the contrary. Of course there were fundamental, long-term problems, but in the last two years Al Jazeera has really let itself go in terms of professionalism.

    It's possible that it does have an agenda, but of course no one makes it clear. The thing is that, if you're professional, you can deal with an agenda. If the employees, the editors or the owners had one and tried to impose it, professionalism would ensure that this didn't happen at the cost of high quality journalistic product.

    But that's precisely what didn't happen when efforts were obviously being made to impose on Al Jazeera the agenda of the state of Qatar. The problem is that the organization lacks internal structures that would immunize it against what was presumably an attempt by the owner or by the editors to interfere politically in things that should have been handled in a journalistic manner.

    Can you give an example of what you mean?

    The most important example is the conflict in Libya. Of course Muammar Gadhafi was a dictator, and of course he'd ruled for far too long. Of course there was a desire among the Libyans to get rid of him. All that is clear. But it's also clear that killing a dictator, as happened with Gadhafi, is absolutely unacceptable on human rights grounds, revolution or no. And that's not emphasized. That is: We stressed the necessity of a revolution in Libya and the humanity of the revolutionaries, but said nothing about the murder of a dictator.

    What should also give us pause for thought is that it wasn't just Gadhafi who was killed. Many others were killed after him - including, incidentally, the man who shot Gadhafi. He was killed by another group of revolutionaries. That's the actual environment in Libya. And that's exactly what you don't see on today's Al Jazeera. That's not professional.

    In Syria, too, society is divided. You have the pro-Assad people, and those who are against him. However, when you make one side out to be mass murderers and turn the others into saints you're fueling the conflict, not presenting the situation in an appropriate and balanced way. There are murders, injustices and good things on both sides. But you don't see that on Al Jazeera. My problem is and was: When I see Al Jazeera's Syrian coverage, I don't really understand what's going on there. And that's the first thing I expect from journalism.

    How do you explain these developments at Al Jazeera?

    You notice with these cases that it involves governments who have fallen out of favor with Qatar's rulers. Libya, Syria and Yemen, for example. Other countries like Jordan and Bahrain are experiencing similar phenomena - rebellion and protest against their ruling classes. But there's far less reporting on them. You'll notice how that corresponds to the state of Qatar's foreign policy. This is a very serious issue, because we at Al Jazeera were always proud to say: We're financed by Qatar, but the state never interferes with our reporting. Now we suddenly find ourselves in a situation in which our reporting is precisely aligned with Qatari foreign policy.

    •  That is actually (10+ / 0-)

      a fully legitimate, reasoned critique from somebody who knows what he's talking about and apparently has a strong sense of journalistic integrity. I'm glad to read it, and I have to say I share some of the author's concerns, although I still do think AJ's coverage is generally superior to American outlets in all regions and European outlets outside of the Middle East.

      However, you do that excellent analysis a disservice by posting it in this dogwhistle-filled knee-jerk outrage diary.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:56:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's really unfair and unexpected from you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to be honest. I was very specific as to why I objected, and also added the top comment to explain that my issue was not with Al Jazeera per se, but how misaligned they are with what Current TV and Al Gore are (supposedly) about. It has NOTHING to do with race or religion...and I think there are tones of racism in that accusation itself, as there are many races in the Middle East, none of which self-identify as 'brown', which is often the label I see thrown around here by kossacks who think they hear dog whistles against Arabs/Persians/etc.

        Principle before Party! Recession 2013!!

        by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:16:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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