Al Jazeera Arabic slammed for ‘normalizing terrorism’ over Burkina Faso attack coverage

Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera Arabic has triggered an angry backlash over ‘normalizing terrorism.’ (Reuters)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Al Jazeera Arabic slammed for ‘normalizing terrorism’ over Burkina Faso attack coverage

LONDON: Al Jazeera Arabic has come under fire for “normalizing terrorism” in its coverage of an attack on the French embassy in Burkina Faso.
Two attacks in the capital Ouagadougou, one of them targeting the French embassy, left 16 dead and at least 80 wounded last week. An affiliate of Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global, a management consultancy focused on the Middle East, claims Al Jazeera reporting on the Burkina Faso terrorist attack was skewed.
“Al Jazeera Arabic . . . refuses to call Al-Qaeda “terrorists,” instead says “whom authorities describe as terrorists,” he tweeted. “Common with Al Jazeera normalizing terrorism in eyes of its readers.”
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt cut ties with Qatar last June claiming the country supported international terror networks and that the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster was a propaganda tool of that support.
Qatar and Al Jazeera deny the claims.
Abdellatif El-Menawy, an Egyptian media analyst, said the coverage of the attack served as a reminder that “Aljazeera has always been a platform for Al-Qaeda.”
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US, Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language channel was accused of being a “mouthpiece” for Osama bin Laden, because of its willingness to air Al-Qaeda video messages and what was perceived by some as an anti-American bias.
El-Menawy said that such content presented as “scoops” in fact underscored its editorial agenda.
He said that the broadcaster had also “made excuses for other terrorist groups,” in Libya, Egypt and Syria.
He added that the Doha-based network avoided describing groups such as Al-Qaeda as terrorists preferring to say that they have “been described as terrorists.”
Aljazeera declined to comment.


Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president’s leadership

Updated 23 June 2018
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Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president’s leadership

  • Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags, one calling on President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to resign and another praising his leadership
  • Frustration deepened last week after Egypt’s national soccer team, competing in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, failed to advance after only two matches

CAIRO: Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags, one calling on President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to resign and another praising his leadership.
The hashtags surfaced after a recent wave of steep price hikes for fuel, drinking water and electricity was introduced by the government as part of austerity measures designed to overhaul the economy, which is still recovering from a costly 2011 popular uprising. The hikes were announced as Egyptians were celebrating Eid Al-Fitr, a holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a move believed to be designed to minimize chances of protests.
Frustration deepened last week after Egypt’s national soccer team, competing in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, failed to advance after only two matches. The hashtags have picked up since, making it Twitter’s top trending list in Egypt for days. But by Saturday, the one calling on El-Sisi to leave office carried over 279,000 tweets. The opposing hashtag had a much lower figure of more than 48,000.
“No freedom, no justice, no education, no country, no humanity ... it’s the time to go away!!!,” one user posted on the hashtag asking El-Sisi to leave, which is translated from Arabic as #El-Sisi_leave.
Meanwhile, other users flooded the hashtag praising the president (#myleaderisEl-Sisiandproud) with flattery and adulation.
Economic reforms and tough austerity measures started shortly after El-Sisi took office in 2014 but have been accelerating recently and have hit poor and middle-class Egyptians especially hard. El-Sisi, who led the 2013 military overthrow of elected but divisive Islamist President Muhammad Mursi, has urged Egyptians to be patient as the reforms take effect.
“If we want to become a real nation, we must suffer pain and endure hardships,” El-Sisi said. “We have to pay the price together.”
Ahead of the recent price hikes, Egyptian authorities arrested several critics, including a well-known blogger and a socialist activist. The arrests, which came after El-Sisi’s re-election in a March vote in which he faced no serious challengers, are part of a wider crackdown on dissent since Mursi’s overthrow amid mass protests against his yearlong rule. Thousands of people have been jailed, including several prominent secular activists who defied the protest ban.
Those measures have virtually eliminated street activism in Egypt, where the 2011 uprising ended former President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule. The government has also cracked down on online organizing by blocking hundreds of websites, including many run by independent journalists and rights groups.