Al Jazeera coverage of Trump’s Jerusalem move ‘promoting hatred’
Al Jazeera coverage of Trump’s Jerusalem move ‘promoting hatred’
As Trump’s decision sparked global outrage, with world leaders denouncing the move, international media gave extensive attention to global demonstrations.
However, the Qatari-owned channel’s reporting of the issue has been described as irresponsible for giving airtime to extremist views.
“The concern with Al Jazeera Arabic’s coverage of Trump’s Jerusalem announcement is that it gives airtime to some very extreme and violent comments, including calls by the terrorist group Hamas,” Tom Wilson, media commentator and fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, told Arab News.
During its daily evening program, Al Jazeera aired a tweet by Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by some countries — calling the Arab and Muslim nations to mark last Friday as a “day of anger against the occupation.”
“If news agencies publicize such views in an uncritical manner, without sufficiently challenging them, then this can risk promoting hatred and furthering tensions,” Wilson said.
The Arabic news channel also aired an interview with a demonstrator who said that Palestine will be liberated only by the “child who holds a knife, and by the martyr who sacrificed his life for Palestine.”
In another report, a protester tells an Al Jazeera reporter that the US president will “meet the jihad by Muslims and Arabs.”
In another segment, the channel broadcasted a protest from Gaza where a demonstrator took out two pistols in front of the camera.
“At such a volatile time in the region channels like Al Jazeera Arabic should avoid the kind of coverage that further enflames feelings that might contribute to violence,” Wilson said. Al Jazeera’s reporting has previously been criticized for inciting hate and giving a platform to extremists and terrorists. Al Jazeera featured the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, who used to promote anti-Semitism and infamously blessed suicide attacks in a 2013 interview.
Media experts accused Al Jazeera of misrepresenting information under the guise of freedom of expression and accuracy.
“All broadcasters have a responsibility to inform the public in a way that is fair and balanced and that does not involve any kind of incitement,” Wilson said.
Dalia Al-Aqidi, a media analyst and political talk-show host, said that the Qatari network had played a “dirty role” in regional conflicts.
“Manipulating the emotions of its viewers was one of the reasons behind the popularity of Al Jazeera TV, which played a dirty role in the Middle Eastern conflicts, starting with its coverage of the war in Iraq, insulting the people who were happy to get rid of the late President Saddam Hussein,” she said.
Al Jazeera has supported Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, who have “killed more innocent Muslims than what they call ‘the enemy’ — whoever the enemy is — spreading hatred and sectarianism by legitimizing violence under the pretext of liberating Palestine.”
She added: “We just need to watch its coverage about the violent demonstrations and type of speakers they host, to realize that it’s quite clear ... Al Jazeera is taking a firm stand against the United States and Saudi Arabia. (It is) using the suffering of the people to serve its political agenda.”
Abdellatif El-Menawy, an Egyptian media analyst, pointed to the dangers of media stoking violence.
“I fully respect the anger of the Palestinian people, Arab peoples and many sympathizers around the world,” he told Arab News.
“But the mistake is when some media deal with these positions for incitement that will not lead to a positive outcome but will complicate the situation even more.”
Al Jazeera did not respond to a request for comment.
KSA complains to FIFA about Qatar’s BeIN using World Cup as political tool
- The federation called on FIFA in its complaint to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
- Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against the “politicization” of World Cup coverage by the Qatar-owned broadcaster.
DUBAI: The Saudi Football Federation has filed an official complaint to FIFA over the Qatar-owned BeIN Sports network’s use of World Cup broadcasts as a means of spreading political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
This falls within the network’s ongoing attempts to instigate hatred in the region, it said.
The federation said its complaint calls on FIFA to address the unacceptable abuse by the channel of its tools for politicizing the media. This was clear after the World Cup’s opening match between Saudi Arabia and Russia and contrary to the laws of the international federation, which stresses the need to exclude sport from politics.
The federation called on FIFA in its complaint to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
Meanwhile, some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against the “politicization” of World Cup coverage by the Qatar-owned broadcaster.
The website sports4everyone.org created the petition and invited fans around the world to urge FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage by the Qatari broadcaster’s Arabic channel.
Among the signatories are Egyptian national football player Ahmed Hassan, Al Arabiya’s Sports Editor Battal Al-Goos, and former Saudi national team captain Yousuf Al-Thunayan.
BeIN Sports holds the rights to broadcast World Cup games across the Middle East and North Africa, although its channels are not available in Saudi Arabia, one of four Arab nations locked in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar over the latter’s alleged ties to terror groups. Doha denies the charges.
“Sport rises above politics. FIFA tried to keep politics away from games. As fans, we are saddened by BeIN using its permission to telecast sports to transmit its political agenda, violating FIFA rules,” the petition read.
The petition website includes nine clips from BeIN Sports featuring pundits and presenters politicizing the match between Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia.
In one of the station’s broadcasts, a commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while in another the host suggested the Kingdom’s top sporting officials will become “prisoners at the Ritz-Carlton,” a reference to the detentions in Riyadh during last year’s anti-corruption drive.
Egyptian media analyst Abdellatif El-Menawy said BeIN had “distorted the global football event” by using it as a political tool against Saudi Arabia.
“This is an infringement of the rules and standards of professional media,” El-Menawy told Arab News on Saturday.
“BeIN Sports has abandoned neutrality and professionalism,” he added, saying the network’s coverage after Saudi Arabia’s 5-0 defeat by Russia was “gloating” and “sarcastic.”