Peripheral Revision

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Al Jazeera loses credibility for censoring coverage of uprisings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, acting as propaganda tool for Qatar’s role in Libya intervention

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+Al Jazeera is based in Qatar which just happens to be the most active Arab supporter of the “rebels” attempting to aid the west in overthrowing the Libyan government. Qatar is positioning itself to be the international marketer for the oil exported by the “rebels,” was the second country to recognize the “ransitional government,” and has contributed aircraft to the NATO bombing campaign.  Part of Al Jazeera’s advantages in reporting international issues is that it can pretty much criticise anyone it chooses without consequences, the only stipulation is refrain from any serious critique of its host nation and its regional allies. This limitation has greatly jeoprodized the Arab media station’s legitimacy and credibility in covering the events in Libya. So heed the warning that Al Jazeera, while widely recognized as a useful news outlet, is not a reliable source when it comes to current regional issues -PR+

Andrew Hammond, Reuters, April 14, 2011

Pan-Arab broadcasters who played a key role reporting Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are helping dynastic rulers police the gates of the Gulf to stop the revolts from spreading on their patch, analysts say.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera, the leading Arabic language network, was pivotal in keeping up momentum during protests that toppled Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, both entrenched rulers who were no friends of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani dynasty.

When Al Jazeera’s cameras turned to Yemen, it was as though its guns were trained on the next target in an uprising longtime Arab leaders were convinced was of the channel’s making.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose impoverished country of 23 million is not a member of the affluent Gulf Arab club, accused Al Jazeera of running an “operations room to burn the Arab nation.” His government has revoked the Al Jazeera correspondents’ licences over its coverage in Yemen.

For viewers watching protests spread across the region, the excitement stopped abruptly in Bahrain. Scant coverage was given to protests in the Gulf Cooperation Council member and to the ensuing crackdown by its Sunni rulers, who called in Saudi and Emirati troops in March under a regional defence pact.

Protests in Oman and Saudi Arabia have also received scant attention in recent months.

“Bahrain does not exist as far as Al Jazeera is concerned, and they have avoided inviting Bahraini or Omani or Saudi critics of those regimes,” said As’ad AbuKhalil, politics professor at California State University.

“Most glaringly, Al Jazeera does not allow one view that is critical of Bahraini repression to appear on the air. The GCC has closed ranks and Qatar may be rewarded with the coveted post of secretary-general of the Arab League.”

Despite a wealth of material, there were no stirring montages featuring comments by protesters or scenes of violence against activists in Bahrain. Al Jazeera has produced such segments to accompany Egyptian and Tunisian coverage.

The threat posed by Bahrain’s protests was closer to home. Their success would have set a precedent for broader public participation in a region ruled by Sunni dynasties. More alarming for those dynasties, it would have given more power to Bahrain’s majority Shi’ites, distrusted by Sunni rulers who fear the influence of regional Shi’ite power Iran.

From an early stage, Al Jazeera framed the movements in Tunisia, Egypt and then Yemen as “revolutions” and subverted government bans on its coverage by inviting viewers to send in images captured on mobile phones to a special address.

“Despite being banned in Egypt, Al Jazeera went to great lengths to provide non-stop live coverage of events. It did not do that in Bahrain,” said political analyst Ghanem Nuseibeh.

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Written by peripheralrevision

04/15/2011 at 12:59 am