Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Al Jazeera and Qatari despotism

This was inevitable. As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of Al Jazeera. It has certainly been instrumental in bringing news to the world about Iraq, Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, and Syria. Its reporters push for democracy and transparency all over the Middle East. But how does it report its own patron, the Qatari government?

Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani took over Qatar in 1995, wresting control from his father in a bloodless coup. With a bottomless pit of petrodollars, he has modernized his country and spread its influence abroad. One instrument is Al Jazeera, which he/Qatar funds. So what happened this week, when a despot who has banned opposition parties, trade unions, and dissent, hands off power to his 33 year old son? What happens when this despot is Qatari? How would Al Jazeera report it?

With sycophancy. Here is a fluff piece about the benevolent dictator:

Last night, Al Jazeera tweeted the link to a story in which it "interviewed" "random" Qatari citizens and asked them whether the emir is a great man or the greatest man ever. A conversation took place between the AJ reporter responsible for that piece and yours truly.


Ripituc said...

Really good reporting! Somebody had to point out this double-standard from Al-Jazeera about current events in Qatar.

There's nobody you can trust... or is it? What do you think of the BBC?

Maxichamp said...

@Ripituc: I will continue to watch AJ. I will just ignore its Qatar coverage.