I know this might seem like a strange question, but I’ve seen some interesting reports from Al-Jazeera over the last couple of months. The very mention of the name “Al-Jazeera” would, however, make a lot of people cringe.
Say you were debating a certain aspect of the war in Iraq and you brought up something you saw on Al-Jazeera, is there any proof that you can give as to Al-Jazeera’s credibility (or lack thereof). Do media watchdogs and/or research organizations include Al-Jazeera in their work?
I’m just curious where it stands with regard to other international news networks.
When I lived in the M. East, I used to watch it a lot. I thought it was as good as CNNI most of the time, but other times I thought it was about as biased as Fox News (but with a different slant, obviously). I think one of the biggest complaints about AJ is that it is selective in its targets, it will chastise Egypt for running shoddy elections, but won’t mention the lack of democracy in the Arab Emirates where it is based.
When the U.S. first invaded Iraq and a lot of the reports coming out of the region were through Al-Jazeera, we had a number of threads dealing with the topic. The Bush administration, of course, tried to portray them as a sort of Middle Eastern equivalent to pre-1989 Pravda. However, the information that was posted (along with various stories run by Al-Jazeera that were dismissed but turned out to be true) indicated that it is a quite legitimate news outlet. (My memory is that it is run by a number of ex-Beebers who were trained at the BBC to report accurately and that they have attempted to maintain that integrity.)
I beleive they are accurate on some things, but they are not unbiased. Do not expect totally objective reporting on matters pertaining to Israel, for example. But for a news network in the Arab World, they are perhaps as unbiased as one could reasonably expect.
Remember in 2004 when the al-Jazeera banner was taken downat the Democratic national convention because it showed on camera and we must pander to the ignorant (those who think al-Jazeera is a terrorist organization)?