Al Jazeera coverage of Trump’s Jerusalem move ‘promoting hatred’

Al Jazeera coverage of a protest in Gaza showed a demonstrator taking out two pistols in front of the camera. (Screengrab)
Updated 12 December 2017

Al Jazeera coverage of Trump’s Jerusalem move ‘promoting hatred’

LONDON: Al Jazeera’s coverage of President Donald Trump’s recent decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has been criticized for “promoting hatred and furthering tensions.”
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.


Qatar’s BeIN chairman, two others indicted in bribery case

Updated 20 February 2020

Qatar’s BeIN chairman, two others indicted in bribery case

  • Former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke charged with accepting bribes, among others
  • Al-Khelaifi charged with inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement

GENEVA: Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged Thursday by Swiss federal prosecutors in connection with a wider bribery investigation linked to World Cup television rights.

The office of Switzerland’s attorney general filed an indictment charging Al-Khelaifi with inciting former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke “to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.”

The Qatari football and television executive, however, no longer faces an accusation of bribery. Following a three-year investigation, FIFA reached an “amicable agreement” with Al-Khelaifi last month, prosecutors said, to drop its criminal complaint relating to the awarding of 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports.

Al-Khelaifi is the head of Doha-based BeIN Sports and also a member of the UEFA executive committee.

Al-Khelaifi was indicted for his alleged part in providing Valcke — who had influence over the awarding of World Cup rights until being removed from office in 2015 — with use of a luxury villa in Sardinia without paying rent valued at up to €1.8 million ($1.94 million).

Valcke was charged with accepting bribes, “several counts of aggravated criminal mismanagement … and falsification of documents.”

For the first time in the five-year investigation of FIFA business, Swiss prosecutors revealed that they believe Valcke received kickbacks totaling €1.25 million to steer World Cup rights toward favored broadcasters in Italy and Greece.

A third person who was not identified was charged with bribery over those payments and also for inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Al-Khelaifi was appointed to the UEFA executive committee, representing European football clubs, one year ago despite being implicated in the bribery case. He is also an influential board member of the European Club Association, which is seeking to drive reforms in the Champions League to favor elite clubs such as French champion PSG.

He denied wrongdoing after being questioned in 2017 and 2019 in connection with criminal proceedings opened three years ago.

Al-Khelaifi has also been implicated in a separate corruption investigation by French prosecutors that is linked to Qatar seeking hosting rights for the track and field world championships. Doha hosted the 2019 edition.