Blog Archive

Blog Archive – February, 2013

Al-Jazeera TV is not your panacea.

February 15, 2013

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

To my liberal friends searching for better international news sources. Take note: Al-Jazeera is not your panacea.

Desperate for alternatives to corporate and Zionist-controlled US media, we long for unvarnished truths and fresh opinions. What is really happening in that far-away world? The world we ourselves dare not step into, the world we are helpless to affect, neither by street protests nor our presumed expertise.

Limited to English-language sources, American sights and hopes are now set on Al-Jazeera English. That the network’s parent company has bought Current TV seems encouraging. This purchase gives the Qatar-based group wide access to American homes-- to help you and me better understand the Middle East. Maybe.

I am for anything that offers more choice. But is Al-Jazeera a real alternative? Is it untainted?

Discerning viewers know they must scrutinize the politics of owners and sponsors of American media companies. Guess what: we have to do the same with foreign sources, even this wholesome-looking Al-Jazeera English. Who controls it and what are the evolving polices of Al-Jazeera’s sponsor?

Qatar owns the 24/7 network that swept the region with quality reporting, provocative debates and sharp analyses. Originally pitched as impartial, Al-Jazeera Arabic injected pride into 400 million Arabs and projected a modern image of their world. It showed the professionalism of Arab journalists and scholars. With its launching in 1996 by Doha-based Al-Jazeera Satellite and Orbit Communications companies, Al-Jazeera Arabic shaped the thoughts and opinions of the Arab-speaking masses. It reported news from places otherwise inaccessible; it showed its mettle by angering selected regional monarchs. It expanded to include children’s and sports channels, all of similarly high quality.

Today Al-Jazeera Arabic has evolved into a political machine that wages war for and against Arab sister states. Its news coverage and analyses are a clear reflection of the Qatar government’s politics, policies  in step with Washington and London. In Syria and Libya, Qatar is a leading media voice for the overthrow of those governments and it arms rebels there. On governance in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other undemocratic monarchies, like Washington, Qatar and Al-Jazeera maintain a low profile.

Doubtless you’ll be charmed by some Al-Jazeera English programs. Meanwhile consider an equally important Middle East news source, English-language PressTV from Tehran. Now here’s a news network worth our attention. ‘Though less slick than Al-Jazeera, PressTV is replete with real alternative news and views.

Too late: This month PressTV disappeared from our airwaves, dropped by Galaxy 19 Satellite. But there’s no censorship in the USA, is there? Never mind; you'll have Al-Jazeera.

[ Al-Jazeera TV is not your panacea. ]

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