web counter Media Lies: The case for Al Jazeera

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

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The case for Al Jazeera

Ali argues that despite its obvious bias, Al Jazeera has benefited (albeit unwittingly) democracy and reform in the MidEast.
But Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia served another role whether they wanted or not. Of course Al Arabyia has changed its attitude and now it's considered a pro-west channel by some Arab regimes and lately their crew in Lebanon even received threats from the Syrian intelligence as the channel officials stated. However, even before that both channels offered a great service to democracy and freedom in the ME even when they wanted exactly the opposite! For example, Al Jazzera focused, as part of its coverage for the "deteriorated situations in Iraq" on every single demonstration against the interim government or the American presence in Iraq even if it was 10 people that are demonstrating! But this coverage, that was missed in the official Arab media most of the times, showed the Arab street an unusual scene. 'Arab' citizens demonstrating freely against their government and the supposed brutal occupiers under the eyes of police!

These days we hear every now and then about demonstrations almost everywhere in the Arab world. Excuse me, but this is far from usual! I haven't seen *any* demonstration against Saddam all my life and similarly I haven't heard of any in Syria or Saudi Arabia prior to the 9th of April. Most of us think it's what happened in Iraq that encouraged Arabs to demand more rights, but how could Arab citizens know the details of what's happening in Iraq if it wasn't for Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia? They don't watch western media, and the official TVs and newspapers give you only one point of view, that of the government, while Al Jazeera with all its bias host Iraqi officials and receive phone calls from Iraqi citizens on their talk shows. They twist facts, favor conspiracy theorists but in the end the audience gets more than one point of view and that's a crucial difference.
So, by attempting to portray negative news in Iraq, Al Jazeera has exposed the Arab world to information they would otherwise not have had.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, they say.

You should also read this story of heroism linked by Ali. Critics say the Iraqis aren't ready to defend themselves. I say they have demonstrated their bravery repeatedly. Only a fool or a cynic would claim otherwise. Like the writer, I too hope that Iraq will grant the highest possible award to these four brave men. It's very humbling to think that these men gave their lives for American "occupiers".