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.


Woman slams social media firms for baby ads after stillbirth

Updated 13 December 2018
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Woman slams social media firms for baby ads after stillbirth

WASHINGTON: A woman whose child was stillborn has slammed the targeted advertising of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram after she returned home from the hospital and kept getting baby-related sales pitches.
Gillian Brockell, a journalist with The Washington Post, said that if those social media giants were clever enough to know she was pregnant they should also have figured out she’d lost the baby.
She shared the bad news last month in a tweet.
“I know you knew I was pregnant,” Brockell wrote to the companies in a letter posted Wednesday on The Washington Post and Twitter.
“It’s my fault, I just couldn’t resist those Instagram hashtags — #30weekspregnant, #babybump. And, silly me! I even clicked once or twice on the maternity wear ads Facebook served up.”
“But didn’t you also see me googling ‘braxton hicks vs. pre-term labor’ and ‘baby not moving’?,” Brockell added.
“Did you not see my three days of social media silence, uncommon for a high-frequency user like me?
“And then the announcement post with keywords like ‘heartbroken’ and ‘problem’ and ‘stillborn’ and the 200 teardrop emoticons from my friends?
“Is that not something you could track?“
Facebook’s vice president of advertising Rob Goldman responded to Brockell apologetically, lamenting her “painful experience with our products.”
“We have a setting available that can block ads about some topics people may find painful — including parenting.
“It still needs improvement, but please know that we’re working on it & welcome your feedback,” Goldman wrote.
Brockell said she knew there was such a setting but that it was not easy to find at first, especially amid all her grieving.
“We never asked for the pregnancy or parenting ads to be turned on; these tech companies triggered that on their own, based on information we shared,” Brockell wrote.
“So what I’m asking is that there be similar triggers to turn this stuff off on its own, based on information we shared.”
She said that after she blocked the baby ads, she got ads on how to adopt a child.
dw/bp