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Qatari PM ‘would stop al-Jazeera for a year’: Wikileaks 29 November 2010

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, al-jazeera english, Egypt, media, Mubarak, Palestinian Territories, qatar, US, الجزيرة.
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Classified US diplomatic cable 10DOHA71, one of 251,287 memos released by Wikileaks on 28 November 2010, details a conversation between US Senator John Kerry and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad al-Thani in February 2010 in which the Qatari PM suggests his government would “would stop al-Jazeera for a year” if doing so would help deliver a lasting Middle East peace settlement.

The confidential dispatch from the US embassy in Qatar notes the Qatari PM (referred to as HBJ) declaring that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak falsely blames al-Jazeera for Egypt’s problems. Al-Thani then apparently tells of an offer he made to Mubarak to “stop al-Jazeera for a year”.

18. (C) Qatar is worried, said HBJ, about Egypt and its
people, who are increasingly impatient.
Mubarak, continued HBJ, says Al Jazeera is the source of Egypt’s problems. This is an excuse.
HBJ had told Mubarak “we would stop Al Jazeera for a year” if he agreed in that span of time to deliver a lasting settlement for the Palestinians.
Mubarak said nothing in response, according to HBJ.

It is unclear from the dispatch if the Qatari leader’s offer is serious and the document gives no further details on the proposal.

Both representatives of the Qatari government and the al-Jazeera network have in the past publicly said that the state does not interfere in the editorial matters of the news channel.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad al-Thani also serves as the current Qatari foreign minister, as well as holding the post of prime minister.


Blair denies Bush conversation on bombing al-Jazeera offices 16 December 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, al-jazeera english, al-jazeera memo, Blair, media, qatar, UK, US.
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Confronted for the first time publicly about a purported phone conversation with US president George Bush in 2004 concerning a plan to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar, former British PM Tony Blair has denied it ever happened.

The question was put to Blair this week during an interview with al-Jazeera, which largely focused on his current role as special envoy to the Middle East for the Quartet.

Al-Jazeera’s Saudi Arabia breakthrough 8 October 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, qatar, Saudi Arabia, الجزيرة.

In a remarkable turn of events, al-Jazeera will reportedly be allowed to open an office in Saudi Arabia before the end of the year. News of the dramatic development leaked out after a meeting between the leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia on 22 September.


Khanfar: Much ado about nothing? 9 September 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, qatar, خنفر.
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Al-Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar has responded to the speculation about his “diminished” role at the station after its management reshuffle (previously discussed on this blog here, here and here).

Back in June, Khanfar added a comment to the personal blog of BBC Global News Director Richard Sambrook. It simply said:

You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the press. Apart from my cholesterol, everything is under control.

He then expanded on his comments in an interview with Variety magazine:

I know what has been written, but I can assure you that Al-Jazeera will remain the same. There has been no change in our editorial line or our editorial policy. As far as I’m concerned, I run Al-Jazeera and I’m in charge. Mr. Kholeifi is responsible for financial and administrative issues, not the editorial line of the channel. In my opinion, this separation between the executive management and senior journalists is healthy.

News round-up: The Wadah Khanfar affair 26 June 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, qatar, خنفر.
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Wadah Khanfar – who has been dropped from the al-Jazeera board of directors – remains in the position of ‘Director General of al-Jazeera’. That, at least, is the title the Qatari press continue to give him. Khanfar put in an appearance yesterday on behalf of the channel at a ceremony to underwrite closer cooperation with Qatar University.

Egyptian online daily al-Mesryoon claims there is discontent and confusion among al-Jazeera staff since the new General Manager Ahmad al-Kholeifi has assumed many of the responsibilities previously held by Khanfar. It says the management reshuffle has favoured the US-friendly ‘liberal’ faction at the channel. (Some commentators have identified three competing ideologies within al-Jazeera: the Arabist, Islamic and liberal factions)

Nuri Yalcin cites a former al-Jazeera employee saying: “There will definitely be policy changes: Fewer veiled women employees and fewer Bin Laden tapes, for example.”

The following is an article that appeared in the Jordanian weekly al-Majd from 4 June (The original Arabic article is here) as translated by BBC Monitoring:

Change at the top: al-Jazeera network board of directors reshuffled 21 May 2007

Posted by foray in al-jazeera, qatar.

Qatar’s Deputy Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, reshuffled the seven-member al-Jazeera network board of directors, according to a Qatar News Agency dispatch on 15 May. The new appointments are to last for three years.

  • Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani, a member of Qatar’s royal family, will continue to hold the position of Chairman.
  • Ahmad Abdullah al-Kholeifi takes up the position of Deputy Chairman and General Manager

(Wadah Khanfar, and the title he once owned – Director General – appear to have been scrapped from the board)

Other members of the board are:

  • Hamad Abdulaziz al-Kuwari (Former Qatari information minister)
  • Abdullah Mubarak al-Kholeifi (continues)
  • Mahmoud Shamam (continues)
  • Abdul Aziz Ibrahim al Mahmoud
  • Mariam Rashed Yousuf al-Khater

So what does it all mean? Leave a comment.

Chatter from the web:

A thinly-sourced article in Echorouk Al Yaoumi sees an opportunity for al-Jazeera’s Algerian presenter Khadija Ben Guenna to take over the top spot at the channel, although she reportedly does not want the position.

Danny Schechter says:

There has just been a worrisome recent development at the one media outlet in the world known for its independence, Al Jazeera, where a new board has been named with a gutsy independent journalist replaced as managing director by a former Ambassador to Washington. You just know what that will result in — Foxera, was the formulation coined by one reader.