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Al Jazeera

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Al Jazeera (Arabic الجزيرة "The Island") an international news network based in Qatar, broadcasting news from the perspective of the Islamic world. It provides in-depth news on world events. While it is government-owned,[1][2][3][4][5][6] it is less biased compared to other propaganda-heavy news stations in the region,[7] and is actually the one most sympathetic to the United States and the West, perhaps because it was founded by former CNN employees.

Some American news organizations and bloggers allege that Al Jazeera, as an organization, is a "terrorist sympathizer,"[8][9] although this may be sometimes because they view anyone with darker skin than themselves who looks vaguely foreign or who broadcasts tapes from terrorists as terrorist sympathizers.

Most people in the "international affairs"[10] business find the online English-language version invaluable. Even conservatives working in the field will read it, though often quietly.

Al Jazeera America[edit]

As Current TV was going belly up with falling ratings and revenue, it ended up being sold to Al Jazeera, broadcasting rights and all. Almost everything about Current, barring about half the staff, was repurposed and relaunched as Al Jazeera America, a surprisingly and stunningly well-done news channel. In less than a year it's taken two Peabody Awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for programs aired — really.[11]

As one writer put it "Welcome back, real cable news."[12]

Unfortunately, AJAM shut its doors on April 30th, 2016 and instead Al Jazeera English expanded its online news production in North America.[13] Its online division (at least) closed early on February 26th.[14]

There might be something cursed about that old Current TV spot, after all...

Mehdi Hasan[edit]

Award-winning British journalist, Mehdi Hasan, hosts two of the most well-received AJ programs, Head to Head[15] and Upfront[16]. Among Hasan's more noteable interviews was Edward Snowden[17], Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard[18], Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, [19]former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn[20], and a surprisingly tough grilling of Richard Dawkins (surprising to Dawkins and his fans).[21]

In late December of 2015, Hasan -- a Muslim whose parents are from India -- interviewed India's Bharatiya Janata PartyWikipedia's W.svg general secretary, Ram MadhavWikipedia's W.svg in a segment titled: "Is Modi’s India flirting with fascism?" Hasan grilled Madhav on multiple issues including religious intolerance in India; the Hindu Madhav advised Hasan he should worry about "your ISIS," to which Hasan took strong exception.[22]

After the interview grabbed headlines in India, Hasan wrote on Twitter that in the 30 odd interviews he had done with Al Jazeera, nothing got a Twitter response such as this one.


He said that the interview must have really “hurt” as “Hindu nationalist trolls” have tried to smear him as a closet Islamist, a Pakistani and an ISIS supporter in the last 48 hours.

One of the first abusive tweets that Hasan retweeted was one from Canadian writer Tarek Fatah, who wrote that Hasan was a “Pakistani Islamist” and the studio audience were allegedly handpicked to badger Madhav.

Sunni Arab bias[edit]

Being based in Qatar, an autocratic Sunni Muslim state, it is often criticised for bias against Shi'a Muslims and for supporting Sunni organisations ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to the government of Qatar. It was accused of encouraging Sunni uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt in the Arab Spring while suppressing news of Shi'a protests against the government of Bahrain, a Qatari ally; criticising Iran (a traditional rival of Gulf Arabs); and under-reporting atrocities committed by Sunnis against Shia Muslims.[23] As with most claims of media bias, such allegations are hard to prove, even if you consider them bad things.

References[edit]

  1. Habib Toumi (13 July 2011). "Al Jazeera turning into private media organisation". Gulf News. http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/al-jazeera-turning-into-private-media-organisation-1.837871. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  2. DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY(COMMUNICATION) Dissertation
  3. Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention, The Guardian
  4. Deconstructing Al Jazeera and its paymasters Let us build pakistan
  5. Al-Jazeera Gets Rap as Qatar Mouthpiece Bloomberg
  6. Qatari-owned Al Jazeera America makes its debut Reuters
  7. Please ignore lovely reports on things like Israel opening nonexistent floodgates.
  8. "Arab media act like terrorist sympathizers"
  9. StopAlJazeera.org
  10. Particularly those who do work on Africa, South Asia, or the Middle East.
  11. It seems like the channel has been given near-full editorial independenceWikipedia's W.svg.
  12. My Tea Party Mom Loves Al Jazeera America, The Daily Beast
  13. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/13/al-jazeera-america-to-close-down.html
  14. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/2/26/goodnight-and-good-luck.html
  15. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2014/10/head-head-impressions-2014108125416545657.html
  16. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/episodes.html
  17. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2015/09/edward-snowden-speaks-mehdi-hasan-150904102133681.html
  18. https://newmatilda.com/2015/11/06/julia-gillard-grilled-on-al-jazeera-about-the-toxic-and-inhumane-conditions-she-forced-on-asylum-seekers-on-nauru/
  19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWqz3F3awPk
  20. http://levantreport.com/2015/08/06/former-dia-chief-michael-flynn-says-rise-of-islamic-state-was-a-willful-decision-and-defends-accuracy-of-2012-memo/
  21. https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/dawkins-versus-mehdi-hasan-a-confrontation-about-faith/
  22. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/after-ram-madhav-interview-talk-show-host-writes-hindu-nationalist-trolls-tried-to-paint-me-as-isis-supporter/#sthash.yfZBPVqW.dpuf
  23. "Al Jazeera controversies and criticism", Wikipedia, accessed 13 January 2016.