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About the al-Jazeera TV station

By TheophileEscargot in MLP
Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 09:35:21 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

There is an interesting article in the Guardian newspaper about the al-Jazeera TV station: the only TV station to have a live link to Kabul.

From the article:
In the five years of its existence, al-Jazeera has become the most-watched satellite channel in the Arab world and has infuriated every government from Libya to Kuwait - both of which once threatened to pull out their ambassadors from Qatar in protest.

Al-Jazeera appears to be fairly independent: although it is an Arab station it has been praised by Shimon Peres for its "credibility and professionalism". Many of its staff are former employees of the short-lived BBC Arabic channel, who see themselves as bringing "BBC values" to the station.

The station also operates on a low budget:

The channel's Afghan outpost is not a plush studio but a small, ramshackle building where visiting dignitaries have to be filmed outside or, more likely, on the roof. The rudimentary conditions occasionally produce moments of tragi-comedy. One of these came on Sunday night while Mohammed Halimi, one of the staff of the Taliban foreign minister, was being interviewed - live - on the roof.

"While Halimi was speaking we heard a big noise, like a bomb," Kicham said. "Suddenly we had no picture and no sound at all. After about five minutes, the sound came back and Allouni reported that a bomb had fallen nearby.

"I'm sorry," he told the studio in Doha, "but the cameraman has disappeared and I've no idea where he is." The cameraman, it turned out, had fallen off the roof. "Fortunately, it's not a high building," Kicham said. "So he climbed back and finished the interview."


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About the al-Jazeera TV station | 14 comments (4 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Other reputable source (4.28 / 7) (#2)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 05:44:39 AM EST

The Neue Zurcher Zeitung (link in German, an English section can be found here ), which is one of the most reputable papers worldwide, backs that assessment in an article today.

Extracts transalted without permission:

While Washington complained at the beginnig of the crisis in Khatar, that the station is biased in favor of the Taliban, the authorities claimed that this is a matter of the free press, as this would be the case in Western countries too.

Indeed does Al-Jazeera broadcast fast, quite unbiased and informative content, which appears to be extremely uncomfartable for the surrounding governments.

The bias of the station appears to be no more focused on the Islam, then it seems to be with western press on the West

Probably that's the German speaking paper with the best overall coverage of the current issues. Avid readers of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung might disagree, though.

A Key Point (4.85 / 7) (#10)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 09:27:17 AM EST

This TV station took off with ex-BBC Arabic service staff because our government shamefully gave in to Saudi pressure to close down the BBC's transmissions.

The Saudis (as well of most of our other allies in the Middle East - hello the newly respectable N-bomb happy military government in Pakistan) hate the free press and the Saudis have done everything they can to corrupt Arabic newspapers (mostly by buying them) Al Jazeera needs to be defended.

A note of clarification (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 03:42:00 PM EST

Since The Guardian article was published this morning (with its report on Colin Powells quiet attempt on the Emir of Qatar to muzzle al-Jazeera) news has come in that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has asked for and received permission for right of reply on the channel. This presumably makes it very difficult for anyone to try and close it down now.

(It is in the 'real world' version of the Financial Times but I can't find it on the online version)

[ Parent ]
Media Failure in the Muslim World (5.00 / 3) (#14)
by spinbuster on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 09:10:43 PM EST

I recently came across a very well-researched book on media censorship in Islamic countries, entitled Media Failure in the Muslim World. The author, Abdelwahab El-Affendi, thought he had an agreement with the International Institute of Islamic Thought to publish it, but, as he says, "For reasons we need not speculate about, my dear friends at IIIT held on to the Manuscript for three years, without publishing, while refusing to let the author pass it to other publishers." After this experience, he decided to publish on the Internet, where I found it. Reading just a couple of chapters from it has given me a great deal more insight into the politics and culture of Islamic nations. A good place to get started is chapter 5 (sans frameset).

About the al-Jazeera TV station | 14 comments (4 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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