Al Jazeera versus Al Jazeera: two approaches to the news.

Posted: 16 May 2011   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 13 May 2011, Thomas Erdbrink: "[T]he events on the tiny Persian Gulf island of Bahrain, a strategic partner to Qatar, best illustrate al-Jazeera Arabic’s dilemma in covering the uprisings. Al-Jazeera Arabic failed to report on intensifying demands by mainly Shiite protesters for the end of the Sunni monarchy in early March, critics say, and the network also neglected several large demonstrations that ultimately led to a military intervention by Saudi Arabia. [Columbia University associate professor of Arab politics Joseph] Massad accuses Al-Jazeera of engaging in a 'media blackout' of the uprising in Bahrain and of demonstrations in Saudi Arabia and Oman. The contrast shows that the Qatari government supports uprisings against republics in the Arab world, he said, but not against monarchies in the gulf. The network’s English affiliate, which operates independently, led its broadcast with the news that Saudi tanks were rolling into Bahrain. 'This is a critically important story for us,' said Al Anstey, its managing director, adding that his broadcast has 'a different audience' from the Arabic channel. Al-Jazeera Arabic carried news of the intervention but less prominently, and focused on the Bahraini government’s rejection of the protesters’ demands and the blame it placed on Iran for the unrest. ... But [Satnam] Matharu, the network’s communications director, said al-Jazeera is independent. 'Look at our reporting, our analysis,' he said. 'If we were a tool of Qatar’s diplomacy, the viewers would run away. As for Bahrain, we reflected the reality on the ground,' he added. 'Like always, al-Jazeera did not choose sides.'" See also Washington Post slideshow about Al Jazeera. See previous post about same subject.

Media Research Center, 10 May 2011, Matt Philbin: "Examples of Al Jazeera's poisonous anti-U.S. and anti-Isr[ae]l bias, its anti-semitism, its tolerance of terrorism and its blatant misreporting abound."

The National (Abu Dhabi), 11 May 2011: "Some Arab media outlets have actively contributed to stoking the pro-democracy uprisings in parts of the Arab world, while others have benefited from the margins of freedom that opened up when dictatorships began to totter, noted the London-based Al Quds al Arabi newspaper. ... [S]ome news channels that have been in the vanguard of the Arab media scene, like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, have lost some credibility, due to their selective coverage, inciting more protests in one country and downplaying their impact in another, based on pure political interest."