Al-Jazeera considered harmful.
profrv at nex.net.au
Mon May 3 20:57:51 PDT 1999
http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=17751Misusing freedom of expression
Abdullah Farraj Al-Sharif/Al-Madinah
Freedom of expression has long been absent in the Arab world. While all
Arab intellectuals emphasize the need for it, they do not accept the wild
lies and prevarications dished out regularly by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera
on a round-the-clock basis. The station chooses guests with dubious
qualifications to participate in what is arguably the worst kind of talk show.
Guests rant and rave, reminding viewers of a brawl. The participants are
never concerned with the authenticity of evidence used to support their
arguments. Such shows, which are not often broadcast by other stations in
other parts of the world, spew hatred and hostility all around.
Viewers wonder at the apparent contradiction in the way the station
presents programs and in what its goals really are. Its motto is Opinion
and the Other Opinion but the stations performance has proved that the
other opinion has no place in its broadcasts. When a topic is discussed
Iraq, for example the discussion rambles on interminably. Viewers who may
or may not know anything about the topic participate by telephone. The
moderator puts questions to them but they are not allowed to express a
dissenting opinion. Questions are phrased in such a way that the desired
answer is implied and it is thus clear what the participants are expected
to say. The trick usually works as unsuspecting participants initially
agree with the moderator and later when the trap has become obvious, the
participant protests that he or she has not been allowed to state his
views. At this point the moderator jumps in to say angrily, We are
discussing the likelihood of Americas attacking Iraq and not the stations
style of presentation.
The stations objective becomes quite clear to those who watches it for
some time. It aims at the total surrender of all Arab interests to American
policies. The station seems to follow a skillfully-devised scheme, which is
much worse than either covert or overt Zionist schemes, to deprive Arabs of
all their legitimate rights. The viewers, who see through the stations
evil designs, are at a loss to explain why a Gulf country continues to
finance a station which has ruined good relations with a number of Arab
countries because of its baseless criticisms and allegations. If the
station is impartial in its treatment, one wonders why it never discusses
the state of affairs in Qatar. Is Qatar an ideal and infallible state while
all other Arab states and governments and countries deserve to be condemned?
Though I have been frank in my opinions about the way the station operates,
I want to stress my keenness to maintain our close family and cultural ties
with our brothers in Qatar despite the efforts of the TV station to ruin them.
14 August 2002
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