ReflectionsHands Off Al-Jazeera!Down with the Media a la Fox News! [Archives:2004/796/Opinion]

December 6 2004

By Yahya Al-Olfi
[email protected]

Several days ago while I was watching Al-Fayhaa Channel an interview was underway with an Iraqi dissident of Saddam's downfallen regime. Now, the man is working for Allawi's government in a position relating to Press and Media.
He claims that he has spent most of his life as an opponent of Saddam but unfortunately his talk and opinion regarding kicking out Al-Jazeera Qatari based News Channel from Iraq, showed the man himself more like those working under Saddam's Regime, if it was not only for the sole difference of declaring being one day a dissident of the former regime.
The man went on to accuse the worldwide famed channel “Aljazeera” labeling it as supporter and instigator of terrorism as well as a Zionist mouthpiece. Here at least when he refers to it as zionist he concurs with the opinion of Arab Officials. Furthermore, the Americans have declared on many occasions their distaste with regard to Al-Jazeera whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, just see how Aljazeera correspondent Sr. Taiseer Alooni is being harassed and mistreated by the Spanish authorities in Madrid, merely in obedience of an American wish.
Americans and some Europeans day and night do brag about their press freedom and when a third world country succeeds in establishing a TV channel with high level freedom of opinion and reporting they declare that such a channel must rationalize its address and approach of the ongoing events. This unfortunately reveals the contradiction between what they believe is right in their own countries and how they disapprove of the same, elsewhere. Take for example USA, the government dares not gag the press and media but instead encourages and pays for apprentices such as “Fox News” for example.
Far be from it! we do not want a Fox News Type of reporting which although has got a nice musical theme but on the other hand the funniest reporting ever to be seen on planet earth. In fact it is even far more worse than our dismal Arab state run TV Channels, despite the advanced techniques and being seated in USA.
Now, one is at a loss Arab official media call Aljazeera a Zionist mouthpiece and the Americans and their Iraqi marionnettes are also equally angry with it.
Faisal Al-Qassem a prominent announcer working for Al-Jazeera wonders whether it is high time to define Zionism amidst Arab Media, and whether such a thing is represented in newly emerging independent Arab press and media which do away with state tutelage and identify themselves with normal people's worries, feelings and daily issues by naming things with their true names or the Arab Official Media which serves Zionism by misleading the people and adopting Gobbel's theory of continued lying? Hence who is Zionist that who discovers illnesses and calls for remedies or that telling lies continuously so as to cover up the truth all along.
Faisal also alluded to the fact that most Arab official channels report most of their airtime about the travels, visits and receptions of the Monarchs, Presidents and Emirs. That by hiding their seething internal problems they do serve Zionism in contrast to Aljazeera which reveals the illnesses in order to tackle them.
In my humble opinion, Arabs have become fed up with the official media which tends to cover up and ignore all the seething problems in the Arab Street. As a matter of fact having an independent professional tool such as Aljazeera fills an important gap in our daily lives. No other Arab Channel has succeeded to become a competitor of Aljazeera which is still gaining Arab attention by the minute.
Give me another channel dealing with Arab affairs as frankly as Aljazeera does and I shall think again. Unfortunately this is still impossible and farfetched and this is why we are afraid for Aljazeera. So, Viva “Aljazeera” and a bas Fox News and its likes anywhere and everywhere.