UPDATES

Will the ABC and SBS ignore mounting allegations against Al Jazeera?

May 15, 2015 | Ahron Shapiro

Will the ABC and SBS ignore mounting allegations against Al Jazeera?
news_item/Al-Jazeera-Logo_260x180_.jpg

Back in June 2014 – shortly before Australian journalist Peter Greste was convicted by Egypt on trumped up charges seemingly aimed at punishing his employer, Al Jazeera, for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood – I published a blog showing how Al Jazeera had made a clear provocation aimed at Egypt that could only inflame tensions and jeopardise the fate of its journalists on trial.

At the time, Andrew Bolt called attention to my unique research on his popular blog.

Now jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, by suing his employer earlier this month for negligence and supporting blacklisted Islamists in Egypt, has highlighted what AIJAC has been saying all along – that Al Jazeera, as a politicised tool of the Qatari monarchy, bears considerable responsibility for the misfortunes of their journalists in Egypt.

Moreover, Fahmy’s allegations is not the only report of journalistic impropriety coming out of Al Jazeera in recent days. As evidence continues to mount showing that Al Jazeera‘s management pushes a political agenda – particularly regarding events in the Middle East, the burning question remains: Why do taxpayer funded public broadcasters ABC and SBS continue to use Al Jazeera as a source of reporting from this region, especially concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and disregarding their own statutory obligations of impartiality?

The ABC covered the Fahmy lawsuit in a story on its website as well as on The World Today.

The ABC itself pulled out some of Fahmy’s most damaging comments against Al Jazeera for a series of pull-quotes to illustrate the story:

“I am suing Al Jazeera because they deceived us, they were negligent and they lied to us and they need to pay for hurting me and my team.”
“Just two weeks ago in the cage, me and Baher (Mohamed) were shocked to see the prosecutor present documents proving that Al Jazeera did not have the proper transmission and broadcast licenses – that is unacceptable.”
“This network lied to us about our legal situation… you trust them and you start believing in them and you assume, that they’re taking care of business. Well they weren’t. And they will pay the price now.”
“I know it will help my case in Egypt and I also know that it will help get the message to Al Jazeera to better protect their journalists. I work for CNN, BBC and other reputable networks and I’ve never seen a network ignore the security of their staff the way that this network did.”
“Freedom of the press is not just a responsibility of government, the networks are also obliged to not take sides. And in this case Al Jazeera Arabic not just took sides and became biased, they were sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood. And I will make sure that they pay the price for endangering our lives.”
“Unfortunately Al Jazeera is partially responsible for our detention and they need to recognise that and they will pay for their mistakes.”

 

Yet Fahmy is not the only journalist to accuse Al Jazeera of wrongdoing against its journalists.

In the US, several prominent journalists at Al Jazeera America have quit their jobs, citing all sorts of workplace intimidation. On April 27, Matthew Luke, formerly the network’s director of media and archive management, filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against Al Jazeera America claiming wrongful termination. His allegations centred on politicised, racist and sexist behaviour by his boss, Osman Mahmud.

As the New York Times reported:

In the suit, Mr. Luke asserted that Mr. Mahmud mistreated female employees and exhibited anti-Semitic behavior, including expressing a desire to replace an Israeli cameraman with a Palestinian. A female senior vice president who resisted fulfilling that request was later transferred to another position, the lawsuit says. The suit further claims that Mr. Mahmud said that “whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.”

Meanwhile, on May 8, it was reported that US authorities have placed Al Jazeera‘s Islamabad bureau chief, Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, on a watch list of suspected terrorists, linking him to al-Qaeda, citing documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

With evidence mounting of improprieties by Al Jazeera‘s management, particularly that which implicates Al Jazeera in promoting political aims under the guise and cover of journalism, there is a strong case to suggest that ABC and SBS should suspend their use of Al Jazeera broadcasts and reports in its news programs and reassess its relationship with the Qatari network pending further investigation into these allegations. There are plenty of alternative sources of reporting that Australia’s public broadcasters can avail themselves of in the meantime.

Ahron Shapiro

 

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


(Photo: Shutterstock)

The politics of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Nov 22, 2022 | Update
Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actresses, appearing publicly without her headscarf and holding a sign with the Kurdish words for "Women, Life, Freedom". Despite the regime's bloody repression, Alidoosti has vowed to remain in her homeland "at any price" and support the families of those killed or arrested in the protest crackdown  (Photo: Instagram)

Iran’s protest wave continues 

Nov 11, 2022 | Update
8c2ebfa2 C3e1 A33a 9cdc 07bd16e00b2f

After election win, Netanyahu set to be Israeli PM again

Nov 4, 2022 | Update
Israelis are going to the polls yet again on Nov. 1, the fifth Israeli election in less than four years. Will this vote break the political deadlock? (Image: Flickr, IDF)

Israel goes to the polls – again

Oct 28, 2022 | Update
The complex Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary dispute appears to have been settled after many years of negotiations, with Israel accepting the green line in the above diagram, except within five kilometres of the coast (This map was originally published on the MEES website).

Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement

Oct 13, 2022 | Update
A screenshot from a video posted on Sept. 17 shows an injured protester in Saqqez, Iran, being rushed to a medical facility. (Video: Twitter)

Insights into Iran’s protest movement

Oct 7, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Left to Right: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

The Russo-Iranian alliance comes to Europe

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi (source: Dean_Calma)

UN nuclear watchdog head’s shocking statement on Iran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The World Cup and Qatar’s Hypocrisy

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Anti-Zionism is no longer being ignored in New Zealand (Image: Alamy Stock photo)

AIR New Zealand: Disinformation report prompts anti-Zionism debate

Left to Right: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

The Russo-Iranian alliance comes to Europe

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi (source: Dean_Calma)

UN nuclear watchdog head’s shocking statement on Iran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The World Cup and Qatar’s Hypocrisy

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Anti-Zionism is no longer being ignored in New Zealand (Image: Alamy Stock photo)

AIR New Zealand: Disinformation report prompts anti-Zionism debate

SORT BY TOPICS