Flaggs went up in my head last night when I heard this. Don’t ask me why but I immediately thought something bad was going to happen that the Iraqi Government does not want the arab world to see through Al-Jazeera - possibly thinking it may weaken their arab support if seen on that network… Anyone else think that?
Phlosphr may be on target, I think. CNN is the biggest of the English language global TV news stations, though BBC is generally better regarded outside of the US. But so far as I know, al Jazeera is the ONLY global Arabic TV source, with something like 35 million audience. If there’s something Saddam doesn’t want seen in the Arab world, that’s the way . …
Well, it doesn’t have to be anything appalling like WOMD–maybe he just doesn’t want his neighbors to see the actual Baghdad firefight “live” in progress, so he can claim all sorts of things later about the battle.
I had the same thought, Phlosphr. I was thinking either that, or they just don’t want the network to see the fact that US troops are in fact very close to Bahgdad. This is something that the regime has been denying.
Al-Jazeera is the FOX of the arab world, news with an opinion. Some of the less opinionated and hard hitting (And decidedly less graphic) middle-eastern news organizations still remain. I do find it interesting though, since Al-Jazeera is clearly the heavyweight among this group. The regime has been so deeply engaged in a propoganda war that they don’t even realize that they are loosing the other war.
Al Jazeera is operated from Qatar, and is partially funded by the Qatari government. Since the Qatari government is in direct opposition to most other Arab countries about this war (as well as much else), it would seem that not toing the governmental party line would make these other Arab countries happy, not infuriated.
Listent ot he Iraqi Information Minister. He is telling people around Iraq on the radio and their TV, that they are winning the war. Killing ‘many Americans’ and destroying tanks and artillery vehicles. So it seems logical that the Iraqi Government would not want common everyday Iraqis to watch Al-Jazeera and learn that the Gov’t is lying to them… That in fact they are losing the war horribly, and quickly. The Iraqi Gov’t is simply trying to rally the people who can not physically see the Coalition is winning.
It is rather pathetic listening to the information minister telling Iraqi commoners that they are actually winning the war…
The ‘party line’ being that of the governments who are doing the complaining.
That a government funds a news service doesn’t necessarily make it biased towards that government. Look at the BBC.
Furthermore, the founders of Al Jazeera were all trained by the BBC for the abortive BBC Arabic news service. The Emir of Qatar provided the money, but in the spirit of an independent medium:
Now look at the ire that Al Jazeera has caused around the Gulf with its “Zionist” stance.
Clearly, A J isn’t squeaky-clean: “it is careful not to criticise Qatar itself and some of its close Gulf allies, specifically Saudi Arabia” (BBC), but in comparison to the other Arabic news services, it’s a beacon of independence.