Prof. Fahad M. Al-Otaibi*
Al-Jazeera between Terrorism and Anti Semitism

Is Al-Jazeera professional channel? Does it cover neutrally? Or is it a politicized channel?   

There are many arrows of criticism that could be directed at Al-Jazeera. For example, it suffers from a credibility burst in media coverage. This can be seen in its coverage of the war in Yemen. Before Qatar was expelled by the Arab coalition from the war, Al-Jazeera's reports and coverage were strongly supportive of this war. As soon as Qatar was expelled, the coverage changed completely. It starts criticizing the war and even trading in the fatigue and suffering of the Yemeni people.

Another example is its hostile tone towards Saudi Arabia which comes as a retaliation against the boycott led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. Hence, one may ask how much influence does Qatar's government has on the news agenda?

Such political position reduces its credibility. What is ridiculous is that the network's news keeps saying that it contacted the government of Saudi Arabia for comment but there is no answer! In a March 6, Clifford Kincaid, an AIM editor and columnist added a post with the title: "Masters of Al-Jazeera Imprison a Blogger" in which he talked about the arrest of Sultan al-Khalaifi who was at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Al-Jazeera's answer was as follows: "The Qatari government could not be contacted for comment." Kincaid wrote: "How could they not get comment from the very regime that owns them? That just doesn't make any sense." He refers to Al Jazeera as a "government-funded propaganda channel"

Al-Jazeera also carries an anti-Semitic trend. There are many examples of this. But the most famous one is what happened during its coverage of the events of 9/11. 

According to Al-Jazeera, Jewish employees that worked at the targeted World Trade Centers were informed of the attacks beforehand. The thing which is unbelievable and reflects anti-Semite view. 

Another example of its antisemitism can be seen in the weekly show (stopped now) "Sharia and Life," hosted by the Egyptian cleric Yusuf Qaradawi which asks frankly for the killing of the Jews.

 In April 2011, Sherry Ricchiardi, the AJR senior contributing writer, wrote a full article entitled "The Al Jazeera Effect" in which he mentions a lot of criticism directed against this channel.  

Not only this, but the channel has since its establishment in 1996 been a mouthpiece for terrorists. For instance, in the wake of 9/11, Al- Jazeera broadcasted statements by Osama bin Laden and reported from within the ranks of the Taliban.

The anti-Americans bias is reported by some of those working in the channel and may lead to their resignation. Former correspondent David Marash joined the English-language channel as Washington, D.C. anchor, Ricchiardi told us, when it started in 2006, then quit two years later over what he saw as anti-American bias in the news and too much control from Doha. Bush's administration was hostile towards the channel, hence, one of its reporters was killed in April 2003 when U.S.-led forces bombed the Baghdad bureau.

All this, and many other facts, have fueled concern about the network's agenda, not least towards Saudi Arabia. We are talking here about an organization which is politically motivated and committed to targeting Saudi Arabia, and they are doing it, unfortunately, under the cloak of ordinary journalism. The question then arise is that: can this cannel after all of this be trusted?

Prof. Fahad M. Al-Otaibi 

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