February 20, 2013

Is Al Jazeera turning into Fox News?

Today, when Egyptians protest against President Mohammad Morsi and the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Jazeera is often critical of them, in the style of the old pro-government TV station. Conversely, according to ex-correspondent Suliman, Al-Jazeera executives have ordered that Morsi's decrees should be portrayed as pearls of wisdom. "Such a dictatorial approach would have been unthinkable before," he says. "In Egypt we have become the palace broadcaster for Morsi." 
I can't believe I'm reading this. According to an article at Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera has become a mouthpiece for the Foreign Ministry of Qatar, just as Fox in the US is the mouthpiece for the GOP.
A prominent correspondent who, until one year ago, used to report in Beirut for the network, says: "Al-Jazeera takes a clear position in every country from which it reports -- not based on journalistic priorities, but rather on the interests of the Foreign Ministry of Qatar," he says. "In order to maintain my integrity as a reporter, I had to quit."
When, for instance, mass protests were staged against the neighboring regime in Bahrain, a close ally of the emir, Al-Jazeera almost entirely ignored the situation. In Syria, on the other hand, where Qatar supports the Islamist-leaning opponents of President Bashar Assad with money and weapons, the network's journalists are extremely close to the rebels.
That's a page directly from the Fox News playbook. This is distressing because Al Jazeera has been a sterling, independent news source since its creation. What a terrible downfall for a formerly trusted news source. And I'm not the only one who thinks this.
The Arab TV network has recently suffered an exodus of prominent staff members. Reporters and anchors in cities like Paris, London, Moscow, Beirut and Cairo have left Al-Jazeera, despite what are seen as luxurious working conditions in centrally located offices.
It's just sad. Of all the things I thought Al Jazeera might turn into, Fox News wasn't on the list.

1 comment:

Artichoke Annie said...

I am sorry to hear this. I often tun to Al Jazeera for news...sigh. I guess we are on our own to ferret out the truth.