Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky














clear
Friday, 4 January 2013
Elliott Abrams: Is Al-Jazeera A News Network? Bookmark and Share
clear

Is al-Jazeera a News Network?

by Elliott Abrams
January 3, 2013

Today’s news informs us that Al Gore and his partners have sold their “left-leaning Current TV” to al-Jazeera, which is to say to the government of Qatar. Although “The nation’s second-largest TV operator, Time Warner Cable Inc., dropped Current after the deal was confirmed Wednesday,” the arrangement still opens many more American homes to the pan-Arab channel.

Any problem here? One, at least: al-Jazeera is wholly owned by the Qatari royal family, whose interests it will pretty obviously protect. It is not, in that sense, a news channel, even if it broadcasts news. Here’s a simple test: is al-Jazeera able to report candidly on events in Qatar? The answer is no.

Moreover, there is this story from the Guardian of London just last September: “Al-Jazeera’s editorial independence has been called into question after its director of news stepped in to ensure a speech made by Qatar’s emir to the UN led its English channel’s coverage of the debate on Syrian intervention.”

The Guardian’s story continued:

Al-Jazeera English was set up in 2006 by the Arabic broadcaster of the same name and both are owned by the Qatari state. The network, founded in 1996, gained credibility with audiences in the region for its seemingly independent coverage in the post 9/11 period. Its English channel was launched to offer an alternative, non-western-centric worldview. However, in recent years, Qatar has taken steps to consolidate its control over the channel as the country seeks greater political influence in the Gulf. In September 2011, Wadah Khanfar, a Palestinian widely seen as independent, suddenly left as director-general after eight years in the post and was replaced by a member of the royal family, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani, a man with no background in journalism.

Henceforth, tens of millions of Americans will receive al-Jazeera English in their homes. It would be nice if the channel carried a little warning label to viewers, clarifying who owns al-Jazeera so that they understand they are getting all the news….that the Qatari government wants them to have. This problem is of course not unique to Qatar: in recent years Russia and China have launched 24-hour news channels in English and several other languages. Now, it may be argued that the British government wholly owns the BBC, as Deutsche Welle is owned by the German government, so why the objection if Qatar, and Russia and China, follow suit? For that matter, Voice of America is owned by the U.S. government.

Every government has the right to present a news channel, and has the right to decide whether that channel will be fully independent of government policy–like the BBC–or will reflect government policy–like al Jazeera. The answer is not censorship, but candor; if al-Jazeera were called Voice of Qatar, and clearly labeled as that nation’s international broadcaster, the situation would be clear to its viewers.

For example, the France 24 web site says “FRANCE 24 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the public-funded holding company Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France.” The Deutsche Welle web site says “Deutsche Welle is regulated by public law and financed by federal tax revenue.” The al-Jazeera web site says “Al Jazeera English is an international news channel with over sixty bureaus around the world that span six different continents….Al Jazeera English is part of the Al Jazeera Network – one of the world’s leading media corporations, encompassing news, documentary and sport channels. Al Jazeera started out more than fifteen years ago as the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to covering and uncovering stories in the region.” Nowhere is there any notice that al-Jazeera is in fact controlled by the government–and that’s the problem.

clear
Posted on 01/04/2013 9:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Comments
No comments yet.


Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
clear
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30     
clear

Subscribe