Friday, July 03, 2009

Aljazeera: independent news or the new Iranian state TV?

I had always defended Aljazeera when my friends complained that its style was like the moslim version of the Fox News. A new, independent and critical media was a welcome change in the Middle East, a region where state news agencies had dominated the media for years.

However, I was disillusioned in the days following the controversial Iranian elections. It started with a video, which characterized the protesters as vandals "who had caused considerable damage to public properties". Next, the Aljazeera Youtube channel featured an interview with a former American security advisor, who articulated great doubt that the US government could do anything to influence the protests. Nonetheless, the video was entitled "US has intelligence agents working in Iran", which in fact echoes the propaganda that is announced almost daily by the Iranian state TV.

Overall, Aljazeera has done little to provide a balanced view of the events in Iran. In the last weeks the news agency has focused mostly on the political aspects of the events, which has been a good excuse not to mention the Basij's brutal attacks, the arrest of hundreds of reformers, students and journalists, as well as the false and absurd "confessions" of people on state TV who were supposedly possessed by foreign media, especially BBC and VOA. This has been the reason why Aljazeera is currently the only foreign news agency who can report all around Tehran. If you are not convinced, watch this ridiculous report to see it for yourself.

Is it the blind anti-Americanism of Aljazeera that explains its royalty to Ahmadinejad? Or is its love for Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been generously funded during the Ahmadinejad administration?

I will Boycott Aljazeera!

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