A Note to Al-Jazeera
Hameed Abdul Karim
During the past few days there has been a paradigm shift in Al-Jazeera's (English) news telecasts.
The news about the Libyan revolution was top on the list for months, but today (27 September 2011) it was about the fifth on the 'agenda' despite the fact that the 'rebels' had entered Sirte once again.
About a couple of days ago news on Turkey's expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, which was unprecedented, went to the 4th slot.
Apart from this, there was no 'live' reporting on what's going on in Syria 'from the Jordanian border' or from Rula Amin in Beirut. What we had was just a bland report about more deaths.
There was nothing on Bahrain where protests are on-going. There is no need to speak about a lack of informative expert comments on the situation there because there was none. There was no ‘comment’ either from any Bahraini opposition leader on the jailing of protesters.
Al-Jazeera kept the world informed of the behind the scene antics of Western powers’ attempt to block the Palestinians’ pursuit for justice, but more than three days have passed and there doesn’t seem to be even a hint of such reporting for which Al-Jazeera had become famous. Where was Marwan Bishara with his in depth analysis?
There was absolutely no information on clashes in Sabha or Bani Waleed. Where has Anita McNaught gone to? Hoda Abdul Hamid? And Sue Turton? And James Bays?
Al-Jazeera told its vast audiences they were ‘setting the news agenda’. Whatever happened to that hoary claim? Whatever happened to Al-Jazeera’s spirit and daring and dynamism we saw during the Egyptian revolution?
Why, even the news anchors seemed listless as their body language suggested. Gone were the chirpy sounds and excitement we found in their tones.
After many months of swearing by Al-Jazeera I found myself switching to BBC and CNN. No I am not connected to Fox News, thank God for that. But I stayed awhile of RT. That’s fast becoming a source of information for those of us who want to see things from a third world prism or point of view.
I feel betrayed and it’s such a shame.
Today (Thursday 20 September, 2011) RT covered the Libyan revolution and announced the rebels had re-taken the airport at Sirte as did BBC. Not a word about it though on Al-Jazeera. Instead Al-Jazeera covered stories like the characterless municipal election in Saudi Arabia and the story about women drivers there, like as if the entire world was waiting, with bated breath, the results of the municipal elections and a major breakthrough on Saudi women drivers.
To add insult to injury, Al-Jazeera focused on the US imposing sanctions on alleged supporters of the Haqqani resistant movement in Afghanistan. You might think the US had held them dear prior to the sanctions. Does the Haqqani outfit really care about US sanctions? For a moment I thought I was watching CNN and switched channels to my favourite Al-Jazeera! Lo and behold I was on Al-Jazeera! CNN didn’t have the ‘news’ even on their scroll line. I might have missed it, if they had mentioned it. Did they?
RT gave decent coverage on the Palestinians’ pursuit for statehood at the UN and mentioned that a vote would be taken on Friday. Again there was not a word on the story on Al-Jazeera. RT even interviewed Prof Noam Chomsky on the topic and also sought his incisive views on the protests outside Wall Street.
Whilst the devastating floods in the Philippines deserved coverage I felt the duration was extended to fill the ‘news hour’ space like was the story on US sanctions on Haqqani fighters in Afghanistan. Excuse me but I’ll have to rush back to my TV to watch Max Keiser on RT.