Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
By now, Qatar already is known as a terror-patron nation to the international community. Al Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, is currently one of the largest news organizations in the world, with 80 bureaus around the globe that produce extensive news coverage online and via TV channels in a number of languages, including Arabic and English. Al Jazeera also produces in-depth documentaries on current issues around the world. While Al Jazeera has a large audience, the organization and the original Arabic channel in particular have sometimes been criticized and have been involved in several controversies. Recently, the English Channel of Al Jazeera too has joined into series of controversial activities, including giving media coverage to terrorist groups, organizations and individuals.
An article in the American Journalism Review noted that critics of Al Jazeera have “assailed what they see as anti-Semitic, anti-American bias in the channel’s news content.” An example cited from earlier years was a report in Al Jazeera that Jews had been informed in advance not to go to work on the day of the September 11 attacks, which was criticized by an October 2001 editorial in The New York Times. An often-repeated example involves an on-air birthday party organized by Al Jazeera’s Beirut bureau chief for a Lebanese militant convicted of killing four Israelis, including a four-year-old girl. Al Jazeera greeted Samir Kuntar, released in a July 2008 prisoner swap, as a hero. A more recent example given by the article is the now defunct weekly show “Sharia and Life” by Yusuf Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric who, according to a February 2011 article in The Atlantic, “argues clearly and consistently that hatred of Israel and Jews is Islamically sanctioned.”
Subsequently, the Al Jazeera television station admitted that its coverage of Israel’s release of convicted Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar violated the station’s own code of ethics.
Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly has criticized Al Jazeera for being “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American”. In response, Dave Marash, a veteran correspondent for ABC’s Nightline who resigned from his position as Washington anchor for Al Jazeera English in 2008 due to a perception of anti-American bias, appeared on the O’Reilly Factor and asserted, “They certainly aren’t anti-Semitic, but they are anti-Netanyahu and anti-Lieberman and anti-Israeli, right.
On May 30, 2017 a tweet from the network’s official English account was accompanied by an antisemitic meme that sparked controversy and was consequently removed. The Network tweeted an apology following the incident, dubbing it a “mistake.”
Al Jazeera has been criticized for being state media owned by Qatar. In 2010, United States Department of State internal communications, released by WikiLeaks as part of the 2010 diplomatic cables leak, claim that the Qatar government manipulates Al Jazeera coverage to suit political interests.
Al Jazeera’s Shia Beirut correspondent Ali Hashem resigned from Al Jazeera after leaked e-mails shows his discontent over the outlet’s “unprofessional” and biased coverage of the Syrian civil war in light of the Bahraini protests of 2011, which was not given the prominence of the Syrian conflict on the network, one side of the conflict which was partly funded by the state of Qatar, who also fund Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera has also been accused of spreading Hinduphobia and dropping neutrality in favor of an anti-India stance in reports relating to India.
Al Jazeera’s long-time Berlin correspondent Aktham Suliman left in late 2012 “It wasn’t just because the broadcaster seemed less interested in reports from Europe. Rather, Suliman had the feeling that he was no longer being allowed to work as an independent journalist. “Before the beginning of the Arab Spring, we were a voice for change,” he says, “a platform for critics and political activists throughout the region. Now, Al-Jazeera has become a propaganda broadcaster. … Al-Jazeera takes a clear position in every country from which it reports—not based on journalistic priorities, but rather on the interests of the Foreign Ministry of Qatar,” he says. “In order to maintain my integrity as a reporter, I had to quit.” He writes, “The news channel Al Jazeera was committed to the truth. Now it is bent. It’s about politics, not journalism. For the reporter that means: time to go. […] The decline 2004–2011 was insidious, subliminal and very slow, but with a disastrous end.
Walid Phares indicated that the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera television network became the “primary ideological and communication network” for the Muslim Brotherhood during the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria in 2011. He noted that after democratic forces had initiated the rebellions, Al Jazeera played a “tremendous role” in supporting the Islamist elements of the revolution.
Al Jazeera has lost former staff members over a number of reasons. Reporters and anchors, particularly in cities like London, Paris, Moscow, Beirut and Cairo have left Al-Jazeera. Among the largest walk-offs, was that of 22 members of Al Jazeera’s Egyptian bureau. The group announced their resignation on July 8, 2013, citing biased coverage of the ongoing Egyptian power redistribution in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.
During the visit of the official Qatari delegation to the 2017 UN General Assembly, anonymous critics purchased US social media ad space that pointed to articles labeling Al Jazeera as a “state-run propaganda arm,” ostensibly in relation to the broader 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis.
During the days of Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda was repeatedly accused of maintaining discreet connections with this notorious man and his terror outfit. There had also been allegations of Al Jazeera being secretly working as a channel for the Qataris authorities in providing fund and logistics to various terror outfits in the world.
Enemies of Al Jazeera:
According to the track record, anti-terror individuals, organizations or nations are considered as enemies by this Qatar-based notorious broadcast network. One of its key agendas is to defame anti-terror individuals, organizations or nations with the clear tendency of giving space to terrorism.
Al Jazeera’s sudden interest on Bangladesh:
For past several months, it is seen that Al Jazeera clearly has taken an agenda against Bangladesh – more precisely Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as well as the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). With such goal, AL Jazeera has been vigorously broadcasting programs as well as publishing articles with the ulterior motive of tarnishing the image of Bangladesh as well as country’s security agencies. Qatar, Al Jazeera and those terror outfits are violently mad on Bangladesh government, particularly DGFI, for effectively continuing drives against militancy and terrorism. Recently this broadcast network has formed a conglomerate of notorious individuals in Bangladesh and United Kingdom with the clear motive of defaming Bangladesh government as the security agencies.
ISIS funder joins hands with AL Jazeera:
A sacked officer of Bangladesh Armed Forces, Shahid Uddin Khan has been living in the United Kingdom with his wife Farjana Anjum and daughter for few years, where they got immigrant status under investor’s category. It is reported in the media that Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan and his family had smuggled-out millions of dollars from Bangladesh since 2009 and invested the same in various business ventures in United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. Sitting in UK, Shahid Uddin Khan has been funding terror outfits such as Islamic State as well as some of the home-grown jihadist outfits in Bangladesh. There are several criminal cases currently pending with various police stations as well as courts in Bangladesh against Shahid Uddin Khan as well as his wife Farjana Anjum for serious crimes including terror-financing. According to various sources, Shahid Uddin Khan and his wife are accused of having hands behind a number of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh as well as the arms haul recovered from Diabari Cannel in Dhaka and huge volume of arms and explosives recovered from Rupganj under Narayanganj district. Shahid Uddin Khan even had communications with few of the jihadists who had attacked Holey Artisan restaurant in Dhaka’s Gulshan area. This sacked army officer also maintains a gang of forgers in Dhaka for fabricating property documents. The same racket has cheated various individuals by selling properties worth millions of dollars with forged documents.