Al Jazeera under fire for Houthi bias after KSA missile attack

Damage created by debris is seen, after ballistic missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi militia fell at a house in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Monday. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 March 2018

Al Jazeera under fire for Houthi bias after KSA missile attack

JEDDAH: The Qatari news network Al Jazeera has prompted a Twitter storm over its coverage of a ballistic missile attack targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia that was launched by Houthi militias in Yemen.
Seven ballistic missiles were fired targeting several cities in Saudi Arabia, three of which were intercepted by the Saudi Defense Patriot systems over the capital Riyadh. The rest were shot down in the skies of Jazan, Najran and Khamis Mushait. The missiles were fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen on Sunday night, the Arab coalition said, leaving one Egyptian civilian dead and two others injured.
The attack prompted widespread condemnation from the UN, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Pakistan and others.
Al Jazeera was, however, accused of providing a “platform” for the Houthi militias, having aired comments by the group just “minutes” after the attack.
The network’s breaking news service claimed that the missiles fired at Saudi Arabia hit their targets, despite statements by the Kingdom confirming that the missiles were destroyed by Saudi air defenses.
Al Jazeera also carried statements by Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, in footage shot before the attack, in which he threatened to use advanced missile systems and aircraft against Saudi Arabia.
Muhammad Al-Bukhaiti, a spokesman for the Houthis, told Al Jazeera that the attack was in “response to the bombing of Yemeni cities, and siege of the Yemeni people.”
Al-Bukhaiti called on the Yemeni people to mobilize against “the Saudi aggression.”
Many Twitter users were critical of Al Jazeera’s coverage of the attack, with an Arabic hashtag, translating as “Qatar media support Houthi,” trending.
“The coordination between the Houthis and Al Jazeera is clear and revealing, and the role of Qatar in funding the Houthis is known. So, their betrayal of the alliance in Yemen is remarkable and their days are numbered,” wrote one.
Another Twitter user said that Al Jazeera and the Qatari media in general “has become an integral part of the Iranian media, but this is not surprising, as they are known to provoke sedition and host terrorists on its channels."
It is not the first time that Al Jazeera Arabic has been accused of providing a platform for militant and terror groups.
Earlier this month it came under fire for “normalizing terrorism” in its coverage of an attack on the French Embassy in Burkina Faso.
Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global, a management consultancy focused on the Middle East, claimed 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.”
Al Jazeera declined to comment when contacted by Arab News.


Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.