Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Al Jazeera - Radical Islam's Broadcast Mouthpiece

It would seem the problems of agenda journalism infest MSM the world over. In the Middle East the al Jazeera network regualarly gives friendly coverage to the point of acting as "official spokesman and activist for fundamentalist groups." That is the charge in a column in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat by Egyptian columnist Diana Muqallid. She makes her charges in light of al Jazeera's coverage of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and al Jazeera's most recent coverage of the conflict between Lebanon and Fath al Islam, the Syrian and al Qaeda linked group currently fighting the Lebanese army inside Lebanon's Nahr al Bared Palestinian Refugee camp:

. . . On the fourth day of the battles around the Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, the Al-Jazeera network opened its evening news with a preface, in which the announcer said that the story that was about to be broadcast included exclusive photos from inside the Palestinian refugee camp showing the scope of the killing and the extent of the 'human suffering' of the camp residents.

The footage that followed showed Fath Al-Islam fighters in their positions, firing at targets that clearly belonged to the Lebanese army. The footage showed not one sight reflecting the suffering of the Palestinian residents; the focus was on the armed fighters, who repeated over and over... statements such as 'satanic tyrants' and 'infidels,' as they exchanged information on the positions of their fighting 'brothers.'

Yet again, Al-Jazeera has not hesitated to play the role it played in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine - that of official spokesman and activist for fundamentalist groups. It seems obvious that the Fath Al-Islam fighters were dealing with a 'friendly' camera, not with a journalistic camera. [This friendly
coverage of Fath Al-Islam] quickly created a connection between [Fath Al-Islam] - which accuses [others] of heresy and regularly carries out massacres and indiscriminate killing, and whose members blow themselves up - and the [Al-Jazeera] channel, which from its outset has ignited Islamic populism and whose influence is growing...

[Al-Jazeera] did not mention the fact that [this] group had slaughtered [Lebanese] soldiers in their sleep. [But] the most important point is that the [special] news flashes and news headlines about the ongoing shelling [of the refugee camp] by the [Lebanese] army never referred to the ongoing entrenchment of the Fath Al-Islam fighters among the residents, and to their shelling of aid and rescue convoys.

Concealing or ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian residents would be a black stain on any [political] body or media outlet, whether it be Lebanese or Arab. But extolling the Fath Al-Islam murderers, and making efforts to associate them with civilians, is first and foremost a crime against the Palestinian residents [of the camp], even more than it is a crime against Lebanon." . . .
Read the entire story here.

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