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Jordanian authorities seize al-Jazeera tape of Prince Hassan interview 23 April 2007

Posted by foray in crackdown, Ghassan Ben Jeddou, Ghassan bin Jadu, Hiwar Maftuh, open dialogue, talkshow.
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Hours after al-Jazeera’s Hiwar Maftuh (Open Dialogue) programme host Ghassan Ben Jeddou interviewed Prince Hassan bin Talal on Wednesday, Jordanian police confiscated the original video tape and photographs of the meeting as the producer was about to leave Amman.

Prince Hassan – the uncle of Jordan’s King Abdullah II – is said to have told the show that a national security adviser in Saudi Arabia was financing Sunni militants to fight Hezbollah. 

The Jordan Times has the inside scoop:

[A Jordanian] official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a conviction that the Doha-based station “conducted the interview in a manner that would have allowed it to use it in a dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”

The official said that the authorities know that the confiscation decision might cause damage to Jordan’s image, “but this damage would be much less than if the interview would have been aired, because then we would have to pay a heavy political price.”

“The country weighed the two options and decided that being accused of carrying out an act that is not in line with the freedom of the press would cause less harm to the country’s interests than the political repercussions of airing the interview,”  the official added.

AJE embraces Youtube 14 April 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, al-jazeera english, youtube.
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Al-Jazeera English has opened a “channel” on youtube.com, providing official video clips from its broadcasts. The longest clip is 20 minutes, presenting AJE’s new programme Political Bytes, a show attempting to link “people from different backgrounds and perspectives via the internet and creating an online global conversation”.

Unofficial al-Jazeera clips continue to run on youtube. A current favourite doing the rounds is Egyptian comedian Mohamed Sobhi imitating al-Jazeera’s various on-air presenters

“Al-Jazeera? They show beheadings, don’t they?” – Anatomy of a myth 10 April 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, beheadings, media, myth, myth watch, myths.
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Al-Jazeera has never shown footage of a hostage being beheaded. So why do so many believe the station has broadcast such barbaric scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan?

The false decapitation reports started creeping into media stories about al-Jazeera as its international influence grew, and – much to the chagrin of the network’s media department – kept getting recycled.

So prevalent has the myth become that some al-Jazeera insiders wonder if it’s part of an intentional smear campaign against their channel.

The matter wasn’t helped when US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seemingly endorsed the story in June 2005, as he told a security conference in Singapore:

I think the United States is well aware of the fact that its circumstance and its position is such that there is going to be criticism and I suspect that from time to time the criticism is merited. But I also know that if anyone here lived in the Middle East and watched a network like al-Jazeera day after day after day, even if you were an American, you would begin to believe that America was bad. And quite honestly, I do not get up in the morning and think that America is what’s wrong with the world. The people that are going on television chopping off people’s heads is what’s wrong with the world. And television networks that carry it and promote it and are Johnny-on-the-spot every time there’s a terrorist act are promoting it.

Not true, al-Jazeera replied in a diplomatically-worded statement on the same day.

Here’s a select chronological list of incidents where the urban legend has been reported as fact in recent years. It includes numerous media outlets you’d think would know better: (more…)

Al-Jazeera’s fiery talkshows: the obligatory youtube post 5 April 2007

Posted by foray in Al-Ittijah al-Mu’akis, al-jazeera, al-kasim, al-Qassem, al-qassim, talkshow, talkshows.
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There’s a simple formula to al-Jazeera’s most famous political talk show Al-Ittijah al-Mu’akis (The Opposite Direction): get two guests with diametrically-opposed viewpoints on to the set and let them unleash their fury.

Below is one of the more spectacular recent examples, as two Iraqis debate the execution of Saddam Hussein.

This show was broadcast on 2 January 2007. It features Iraqi MP Mish’an al-Jubouri and journalist Sadeq al-Musawi. The translation and excerpting is from memri.org, everyone’s favourite (or not) Israeli-based Arab media watchdog.

There’s no question this stuff makes for compelling viewing. But does it enlighten the audience in any way? (more…)

Al-Jazeera in print: bold plan for pan-Arab newspaper takes shape 1 April 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, newspaper, newspapers.
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Al-Jazeera’s foray into print media appears to be on track with official confirmation that Abdel Wahab Badrakhan will be the editor of its pan-Arab newspaper.

Badrakhan today addressed the annual journalistic gab fest that is The Al Jazeera Forum. Details of what he told the audience are sketchy at this point and come from a number of bloggers reporting from the invitation-only event.

News Dissector’s raw jottings on the Badrakhan speech noted:

Spreading democracy in this part of the world has been disappointing. Sees Blogs as offering background on reality of situation.

Some intriguing remarks on the AIG blog suggest there are plans for something larger: (more…)