Home / Opinion / Al Jazeera And The Qatar Squabble – OpEd

Al Jazeera And The Qatar Squabble – OpEd


Al Jazeera, a TV news hire broadcasting turn a time in Arabic and English, is owned by a supervision of Qatar. From a impulse a hire went on a air, behind in 1996, a officials and spokespersons have confirmed that it has finish editorial independence. And indeed, a professionalism of a news coverage, and a partially far-reaching operation of domestic opinion it permits during a contention programs, make it an rare materialisation in a Arab world, and comment for a undoubted success. Any TV hire that has managed, in a 18 years of life, to have stormy a feathers of countries as different as China and Egypt, and lifted a madness of both Israel and a Palestinian Authority, contingency have something going for it.

Yet Al Jazeera’s avowal of editorial autonomy has been challenged some-more than once. The leak of tactful cables by Wikileaks in 2010 enclosed a series of inner US Department of State communications claiming that a Qatar supervision intervenes from time to time to manipulate Al Jazeera coverage.

In Jul 2009, the US embassy said a channel “has valid itself a useful apparatus for a station’s domestic masters”. In another dispatch, a US ambassador, Joseph LeBaron, wrote: “Al-Jazeera’s ability to change open opinion via a segment is a estimable source of precedence for Qatar, one that it is doubtful to relinquish. Al Jazeera stays one of Qatar’s many profitable domestic and tactful tools.”

These assessments seemed fit in Sep 2012, when Al Jazeera’s executive of news stepped in to safeguard that a discuss done by Qatar’s emir to a UN led a English channel’s coverage of a discuss on Intervening in a Syrian polite conflict. As Dan Sabbagh of The Guardian reported during a time: “Journalists had constructed a package of a UN debate, surfaced with excerpts of President Obama’s speech, when a last-minute instruction came from Salah Negm, a Qatar-based news director, who systematic a video to be re-edited to lead with a comments from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.”

Despite protests from staff, a two-minute video was re-edited and Obama’s discuss was relegated to a finish of a package. The partial was described by some staff as a many clumsy editorial involvement during Al Jazeera, that continued to contend that it operates eccentric of a Qatari ownership.

Suspicions about a border to that Al Jazeera is, in a final resort, theme to instruction from a supervision or directly from Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar’s childish new ruler, competence be reduction discouraging to a universe in general, and Qatar’s beside Gulf states in particular, if Qatar were not something of a nonconformist state in a region.

When a Sheik succeeded his father, who abdicated in Jun 2013, he announced that he would continue to pursue Qatar’s assertive, independent-minded unfamiliar policy. Most of a Gulf states have prolonged opposite a Muslim Brotherhood, and regarded with suspicion, and even fear, a aim of subverting existent governments and substituting a chronicle of Sharia law. Qatar is a exception, and has prolonged been a pro-active believer of a Brotherhood, to a heated distrurbance of other Gulf states.

On Mar 6, 2014 the long-simmering quarrel exploded into a open. In a corner statement, Saudi Arabia, a United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced that they were withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar, citing that country’s support for a Muslim Brotherhood, that they courtesy as a vital hazard to their inner confidence and domestic stability. Moreover. they indicted Al Jazeera of following a Qatari supervision line on a Muslim Brotherhood, and claimed that a TV hire has a record of actively ancillary pro-Brotherhood people and movements during a Arab Spring.

The same indictment has been leveled by Egypt’s halt government, not usually opposite Al Jazeera journalists, though those from other media. On Dec 29, 2013, Egyptian confidence army arrested 4 Al Jazeera journalists in Cairo – match Peter Greste, producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy. They, together with 4 others, were hold in custody. Another 12, who were charged in their absence, managed to leave a nation before being arrested.

The halt supervision of Egypt, led by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has announced a Muslim Brotherhood a militant organization, and has jailed hundreds of a heading figures. It has also clamped down on a Brotherhood’s offshoot, Hamas, a de facto rulers in Gaza, and broken or sealed a tunnels by that they were importing products and weapons from Egypt. On Mar 8, Saudi Arabia, following Egypt’s lead, and in justification of their movement opposite Qatar and their defamation of Al Jazeera. rigourously denounced a Muslim Brotherhood as a militant organization

According to a Qatari Arabic daily, Al Sharq, a United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are pressuring their adults to renounce from positions in Qatari media following a relapse in their family with Qatar. And indeed, on Mar 8 dual UAE journalists, Fares Awad and Ali Al Kaabi, quiescent from Al Jazeera.

As for a 4 Al Jazeera reporters arrested in Egypt, their hearing is now underneath way. They are charged with ancillary a criminialized Muslim Brotherhood, and therefore deposed boss Mohamed Morsi, and indicted inter alia of broadcasting false reports.

Prosecutors contend a defendants secretly portrayed Egypt as being in a state of “civil war,” a probable anxiety to a broadcaster’s coverage of a supervision crackdown in that some-more than 1,400 people, mostly Morsi supporters, were killed in travel clashes.
Al-Jazeera has denied a charges in honour of a 9 defendants on a staff.

The box has given arise to a worldwide outcry about press freedom. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders pronounced it “deplores a government’s stability violations of a elemental freedoms that are guaranteed and stable in a new constitution.” And Human Rights Watch asserts that a authorities “have demonstrated roughly 0 toleration for any form of dissent.”

The element of press leisure contingency be cherished. However it is maybe unsurprising, even if deplorable, that a Egyptian halt government, still struggling to claim itself opposite a dismissed opponents, is clamping down on those whom it believes are ancillary a enemies. A problem for Al Jazeera is that, notwithstanding what it claims for itself in terms of editorial independence, there are some drift for desiring that a pro-Muslim Brotherhood domestic views of a Qatari supervision might have shabby a broadcaster.

One certain aspect of a formidable conditions is that a hearing is holding place within Egypt’s legal structure, that is particularly eccentric of supervision although, regrettably, hearing by jury is not partial of a system. Nevertheless, we can wish for a satisfactory hearing and a loyal verdict.

About a author:

Neville Teller

Neville Teller is a author of “One Year in a History of Israel and Palestine” (2011) and writes a blog “A Mid-East Journal”. He is also a long-time dramatist, author and abridger for BBC radio and for a UK audiobook industry. Born in London and prepared during Owen’s School and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, he is a past authority of a Society of Authors’ Broadcasting Committee, and of a Contributors’ Committee of a Audiobook Publishing Association. He was done an MBE in a Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2006 “for services to broadcasting and to drama.”

Visit Neville Teller’s website

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