Journalism is a truth finding profession and maintaining objectivity is crucial in making/ producing news and views in both print and electronic media. But there is a big question about the news and views produced by Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based television news channel, is allegedly serving the interests of middle-based Islamist extremists. It is also alleged that they are serving the interest of Iraq and Syria-based ISIS and Egypt-based Islamic Brotherhood. Due to their controversial role they had to close down their offices in the middle-east and other countries like India.
Moreover, we find here in Bangladesh that the Al Jazeera authorities appoint their local agents who are usually from an anti-Bangladesh background. These people or their earlier generations did not want Bangladesh to emerge as an independent nation. So they took stand against the Liberation War of the country but suffered a crushing blow as the freedom loving Bangalees could liberate their motherland from the clutches of the oppressive Pakistan regime. However, this group of anti-liberation forces could not forget the humiliating defeat. They and their offspring still bear the trauma of that defeat. Thus, the news and views produced by these people are biased and politically influenced. It is reported that during the recent students’ movement for safe road in Bangladesh, Al Jazeera repeatedly telecast reports in favour of controversial photographer Shahidul Alam who has been working on behalf of BNP in a bid to topple the present government of Sheikh Hasina.
Recently, Dr Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Adviser to Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was interviewed by Al Jazeera for its programme ‘Head to Head’. The interview was taken by Mehdi Hasan, who asked Mr Rizvi many illogical questions but did not even give him enough time to answer his questions. Meanwhile, Mr Mehdi gave the floor to Mr Tasneem Khalil, Swedish Bangladeshi journalist and author of ‘Jallad: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia’. Mr Khalil, reportedly a Jamaat Shibir activist in his student life, left Bangladesh during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat government but, surprisingly, he claimed that he left the country during Awami League regime as he could not raise the issue of human rights and freedom of speech
Several reports say that Al Jazeera’s English language service has involved in a series of controversial activities, including giving media coverage to terrorist groups, organizations and individuals. According to Mr Kevin Ponniah’s report titled ‘Qatar crisis: Can Al Jazeera survive?’ published on 8 June 2017 in BBC, “Al Jazeera’s broadcasting has caused controversy and drawn anger in various Arab states, not least in Egypt after the fall of Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring and the subsequent ousting of the elected president, Mohammed Morsi – a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
GLIMPSE OF AL JAZEERA
- Arabic-language news channel launched in 1996, with Qatar’s emir pledging to let journalists ‘report the news as they see it’
- Attracted large audiences – soon in the tens of millions – with dynamic coverage and criticism of Arab leaders
- Came to global prominence by airing video messages from Osama Bin Laden after 9/11
- Set up English-language channel in 2006, which has won many awards and broadcasts to more than 100 countries
- “If you follow coverage on both channels, you wouldn’t believe this is the same brand,” says Arab media expert Noha Mellor
- Spent huge sums to launch Al Jazeera America in 2013 to break into US market but the channel folded in 2016
Reported to have lost large audiences in Egypt after coverage of the Arab Spring. Al Jazeera Arabic and its local channel MubasherMisr (later suspended) was accused of serving as mouthpiece of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, which it denied
AL JAZEERA IS BANNED IN MANY COUNTRIES
Algeria, Iraq and Egypt:Due to its dangerous policy of patronizing terrorism and militancy, AL Jazeera is known as the terrorist network.The first ban on the channel came in 2004 by the Algerian government. In the same year, Al-Jazeera wasbanned by the Iraqi government on accusation of inciting hatred in the country through its reporting.The third ban came in 2011, when the Egyptian government ordered the channel to close its offices in the country. Six journalists were also put behind the bars.Two years later, in 2013, the Iraqi government once again imposed a ban on the channel on accusation of promoting sectarian agenda.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain: It has already been caught up in the current crisis, with its website blocked by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain in late May 2017. All of these nations severed ties with Qatar on 5 June 2017, accusing the country of supporting extremism. Saudi Arabia has closed Al Jazeera’s offices and withdrawn its broadcast license, saying it promotes terrorist ‘plots’ and supports Houthi militias.
The Qatar-based beIN Sports channels were also initially banned in June in the UAE. Over a month later, the UAE restored normal access to beIN Sports channels via its local telecom providers.In Saudi Arabia, the channels remain banned, while a large-scale signal piracy operation known as “beoutQ” has made the channels’ content available.
Jordan:Jordan has closed Al-Jazeera’s local offices.
India:In August 2018, Indian Home Ministry decided to stop the broadcasting of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channel in the country after a documentary covering the subject of militancy in Kashmir was broadcast in the channel. The decision came after the central government’s ‘efforts and the comments of its officials’ in the documentary went missing in the ‘edited version’, submitted to the Home Ministry for broadcasting clearance.
This is not the first time that Al-Jazeera English has received flak from the Government of India. Earlier, in 2015, the Qatar-based channel was banned for five days. The Channel had shown, what the government said was ‘an incorrect map of Jammu and Kashmir’ with respect to India.
For the entire five days, the channel displayed a blank screen with a message, which read: “As instructed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, this channel will not be available from 00.01 hours on April 22 till 00.01 hours on April 27, 2015.”
A STATEMENT OF OUTLAWED IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD BY AL JAZEERA
According to Anita Mathur, in June 2017, Mohamed Fahmy, a bureau chief of Al Jazeera TV network said, Al Jazeera was aiding terrorism and militancy. He remembered, as he was in Egyptian prison said, lately he realized, there was not something right in AL Jazeera.
With Fahmy, there was a group of Muslim Brotherhood students in the same jail. “They described how they were involved in organizing protests and filming them, and a lot of their footage was being aired on Al Jazeera and that doesn’t represent citizen journalism.”
Professor Md Roshidul Hasan
President, One Bangladesh