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Al-Jazeera TV : Biased Reporting

Washington / Morocco Board News Service -       Is the Moroccan public turning away from Al-Jazeera? Is Al-Jazeera losing audiences in some parts of the Arab world? If the reaction of the Moroccan audience to Al-Jazeera’s lack of coverage around the arrest and disappearance of the Polisario dissident is an indication, the Qatari based Al-Jazeera news channel (JNC) is in trouble. Moroccan are utterly outraged with the way JNC has sidelined and ignored the story of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud’s odyssey from the Moroccan city of Smara,  where he voiced his support to the Moroccan Autonomy Plan for the western Sahara, to the Algerian city of Tindouf where the separatist Polisario Front arrested him and send him to an Algerian jail.
Moroccan are mystified to the reasons  behind Al-Jazeera’s lack of  interest in the sad and moving story of Mr. Ould Sidi Mouloud, while the JNC news team  has  lead some of their  newscast stories with anti-Moroccan activities in the Western Sahara and Algeria. Moroccans are mad and furious are JNC lack of objectivity in covering human rights in Moroccan and Algeria, and the channels’ clear favoritism to the Algerian position on the Sahara conflict.

The Moroccan viewer is wondering why JNC did not show footage of Ould Sidi Mouloud eighty year old father leaving a Washington DC hospital after a health scare during a visit to the United States Congress to lobby for the release of his son. Moroccans, like other Arab viewers are starting to see through Al-Jazeera’s screaming programs and theatrical discussions.

Moroccans of all ages are appalled with JNC disinterest in investigating Algeria’s role in keeping the Western Sahara unsettled and the lack of human rights and freedom of speech in the refugee camps in Tindouf.

Without a doubt, the Qatari based Al-Jazeera news channel (JNC) has revolutionized the Arab media world. By far the most popular news channel in the Middle East, JNC was the first news channel to have full time journalists working in  major word capitals bringing breaking news live and with an Arabic and Muslim perspective. JNC is also credited with opening its microphones to Arab and Muslim renegades, banned opposition figures and other anti-establishment figures.

JNC became a worldwide phenomenon in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. The Qatari news channel has been Ben Laden’s favorite method of communicating with the world. Similarly, JNC has been the Taliban’ preferred vehicle to issue press releases.

Al-Jazeera’s broke several political taboos in the conservative and restricted world of the Arab press. From interviews with leaders of groups branded as terrorist to leaders of divisive groups within the Arab and Muslim world. When JNC came into the Arab scene, millions of Arab viewers fled their dreadful local and national channels for the daring Doha based news leader. Since its spring, Al-Jazeera has broken several major stories, it become in the process a source of news for its proponents and detractors alike.

Complains about JNC and its coverage are frequent and as strange and divers in source and nature. From high-ranking US officials to Russian politicians, Al-Jazeera was a subject to verbal attacks because of its cozy relations with notorious groups.

If JNC is the Arab’s number one source of news, the Arab public does not unanimously like it. As expected Arab, governments and ruler were furious and disturbed by the “independence” and the “courage” of Al-Jazeera’s coverage. Arab governments that have mastered the art of muzzling a free press used every chance to criticize the news channel.

Like any news channel in the world, the editorial and news teams decide what stories to run, and how to lead them. The American Fox News and CNN do it, so does JNC. By picking and choosing what to cover and how, a news channel set a schema that inadvertently becomes an agenda.  If Fox News has a conservative agenda and MSNBC (an American all news channel) have one, Al-Jazeera has a country-by-country a la carte agenda.

Moroccans have a hate love relationship with Al-Jazeera. Moroccans like their brethrens did not have much choice in news sources before the arrival of JNC. Moroccans have learned a bunch about their recent political history from programs aired on the Pan-Arab channel.  The Moroccan public has been grateful to JNC's efforts and interest; however, too much attention turns into an obsession.

At first, The Moroccan authorities were accommodating to JNC’s presence in Morocco. Rabat let the Qatari Channel broadcast a live news program design to cover North African news. Not long after the launch of” Al-Hassad Al-Magharibi” news program, Al-Jazeera's coverage focused heavily on Moroccan affairs  with a special interest in social ailments and  accidental news. In sum, JNC North African News journal became an avenue for the world to see Morocco’s problems with little coverage of Morocco’s advancements and achievements.  Moroccans felt targeted and battered by a biased coverage. The Moroccan government finally decided to stop Al-Jazeera’s one sided news program.

If the jury was still out on whether Al-Jazeera’s coverage of Morocco is biased, the case of the Sahrawi political prisoner Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud (currently jailed by the Algerian Army) has been the ultimate proof of an influenced and a prejudiced policy by Al-Jazeera’s team toward news items on Morocco’s.

As opposed to the account of the separatist Haidar, which  was the lead story of several of JNC newscast; the disappearance of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud was a secondary news item in JNC’s news program. Al-Jazeera’s slogan of presenting a view and the opposite view does not apply to Morocco!

The Moroccan public who initially endorsed Al-Jazeera is dismayed with its anti-Moroccan obvious biases. It will take more than shouting matches and anti-Israeli rhetoric to convince some viewers of Al-Jazeera’s objectivity and balance.





Author: Hassan Masiky graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a degree in political science. Hassan joined the Washington DC based non government organization the Parliamentary Human Rights Foundation (PHRF) where he worked as a consultant for USAID democracy projects in Mexico, Haiti, Republic of Georgia and the European Parliament. After leaving PHRF, Hassan dedicated his time advising Amnesty International USA on African and Middle Eastern affairs and representing the organization in press conferences. Mr. Masiky was a host on several television shows discussing human rights and democracy.



Comments (13)  

 
moro yankee
0 #1 who caresmoro yankee 2010-10-14 10:35
first of all ,al jazeera or what ever is just another branch of bbc or press tv, have you notice some times they have the same story coverage except in arabic, to me i don't care about that side of the world and i really don't care about sand n#@!#@!@# from over there either
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moroccan patriot
0 #2 I am not shocked by the lack of coverage of the "seperatists arrest by AL Jazira"moroccan patriot 2010-10-14 12:08
Al Jazeera is a real News organization, not like CNN, Fox News, 2eme and any number of other faux news organizations. The guy was arrested by his leadership because he was a traitor to their organization. He suffered the same fate that anyone, and I do mean ANYONE in Morocco would suffer for saying out loud that they supported the Polosario's right to self determination.

Al Jazeera does not have a horse in this race. Moroccans are not stupid. They understand that this nonesense being pushed by Moroccan media to try to gain attention for this matter will not EVER help the average Moroccan. Moroccans do not benefit from the western Sahara. They could benefit from the Sahara, but because of the poor leadership in Morocco, nothing good will come from all of this.
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Honest Broker
0 #3 Morocco is an Ally of Apartheid IsraelHonest Broker 2010-10-14 13:37
Morocco has become an extension of Apartheid Israel. The reality is that Al Jazeera is the most honest news program in the Arab world. The oligarchy that runs Morocco has a vested interest in keeping Moroccans in the dark. This is why they are lashing out against Al Jazeera. If the author of this article had any real integrity, he would speak out against the complete absense of coverage in American media... but this would be speaking out against white people, cowards do not speak out against white people, they only target people of brown color. Shame on the author and shame on Morocco for being complicit with Apartheid Israel and the zionists in the war against Islam.
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Simo Skotlandi
0 #4 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased ReportingSimo Skotlandi 2010-10-15 03:47
who's Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud anyway? since when was he a famous figure in Morocco?
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riffi
0 #5 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased Reportingriffi 2010-10-15 03:58
if Aljazeera is the most honest news Pinochio has a little nose.it is getting unbearable here.
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man en blanc
0 #6 Another lost opportunityman en blanc 2010-10-15 10:52
Al Jazeera was conceived and brought to existence by the Qatari Government in 1996.

It was not only a ground-breaking and an amazing endeavor by a tiny tribe/Sheikdom in the vast desert of the wretched Middle-East. It, also informed a news-starved Arab world with some controversial, (relatively-spe aking) facts about the farce called the Arab Democracy. (another Oxymoron?)

Does anyone remember when the Cheney/Rumsfeld administration decided, to unjustly destroy Iraq?
Does anyone remember when Rumsfeld was singing the praises of the accuracy of the US Air Force fighter Jets Bombings?
I do.
But I also remember Al Jazeera showing the real carnage in Iraq! The thousands of innocent Iraqis : Men, women and children blown to smithereens.
No U.S. news channel dared to show, never mind, question the atrociousness of the Neo-Cons follies!
Every U.S news channel bought the crap coming out of D.C. and broadcasted it!
So the USAF "accidentally" bombed their Baghdad office.

Al Jazeera made sure that America, sometimes, no matter how much it screams Equality, Transparency... etc, can also be capable of tactics that would make A Zimbabwean dictator proud!

That was Al Jazeera then!

I don't know about now.
Al Jazeera was conceived and brought to existence by the Qatari Government in 1996.

It was not only a ground-breaking and an amazing endeavor by a tiny tribe/Sheikdom in the vast desert of the wretched Middle-East. It, also informed a news-starved Arab world with some controversial, (relatively-spe aking) facts about the farce called the Arab Democracy. (another Oxymoron?)

Does anyone remember when the Cheney/Rumsfeld administration decided, to unjustly destroy Iraq?
Does anyone remember when Rumsfeld was singing the praises of the accuracy of the US Air Force fighter Jets Bombings?
I do.
But I also remember Al Jazeera showing the real carnage in Iraq! The thousands of innocent Iraqis : Men, women and children blown to smithereens.
No U.S. news channel dared to show, never mind, question the atrociousness of the Neo-Cons follies!
Every U.S news channel bought the crap coming out of D.C. and cheerfulnessly broadcasted it!
So the USAF "accidentally" bombed the Al Jazeera Baghdad office.

Al Jazeera made sure that America, sometimes, no matter how much it screams Equality, Transparency... etc, can also, be capable of tactics that would make A Zimbabwean dictator proud!

That was Al Jazeera then!

I don't know about it now.

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Hisham
0 #7 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased ReportingHisham 2010-10-17 00:21
Moroccan are mystified to the reasons behind Al-Jazeera’s lack of interest in the sad and moving story of Mr. Ould Sidi Mouloud

Do you have any figures to back this claim or are you just assuming you know better. I don't think the majority of Moroccans are as preoccupied by this highly politicized story as you want us to believe. And I think Aljazeera knows that just too well.
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TruthSeeker
0 #8 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased ReportingTruthSeeker 2010-10-17 10:01
Apartheid Israel ?

Israel's Declaration of Independence called for the establishment of a Jewish state with equality of social and political rights, irrespective of religion, race, or sex. The rights of citizens are guaranteed by a set of basic laws (Israel does not have a written constitution). Although this set of laws does not explicitly include the term "right to equality", the Israeli Supreme Court has consistently interpreted "Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty" and "Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation (1994)" as guaranteeing equal rights for all Israeli citizens.

Dr. Tashbih Sayyed, Moslem scholar, has visited Israel in attempt to "see if there was any truth in the media allegations that Israel was an apartheid state". He concluded that Israeli Arabs are protected by Israel's democratic principles, the Muslim Arab citizens of Israel are afforded all the rights and privileges of Israeli citizenship. He noted that Israel is one of the few countries in the Middle East where Arab women can vote. In contrast to the non-Israeli Arab world, Arab women in Israel enjoy the same status as men, and have the right to vote and to be elected to public office. Muslim women, according to Sayyed, are in fact are more liberated in Israel than in any Muslim country, since Israeli law prohibits polygamy, child marriage, and female sexual mutilation.The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that "Arab Israelis are citizens of Israel with equal rights" and states that "The only legal distinction between Arab and Jewish citizens is not one of rights, but rather of civic duty. However a number of official sources acknowledge that Arab citizens of Israel experience systematic discrimination in many aspects of life. Israeli High Court Justice (Ret.) Theodor Or chaired the Or Commission, which noted that discrimination against the country's Arab citizens had been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, had been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and had also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticised in 2008 what he called "deliberate and insufferable" discrimination against Arabs at the hands of the Israeli establishment.[ 56] According to the 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government had done "little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country's Arab citizens


Note:1
In 1873, Shah of Persia Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (MOSLEM) met with British Jewish leaders, including Sir Moses Montefiore, during his journey to Europe. At that time, the Persian king suggested that the Jews buy land and establish a state for the Jewish people

In result we have great Country of Isreal, which has a right to exist

Note 2:
13 of chapter 49 in the Holy Koran - Holy book of Moslem : "O Humankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and TRIBES,that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware."

Note 3:
Surah Baqarah (Koran -Moslem holy book), Chapter No. 2, Verse No. 62:

"Those who believe, the Jews, Christians and Sabians - any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord. They need not fear, nor shall they grieve"
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man en blanc
0 #9 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased Reportingman en blanc 2010-10-18 01:28
Al Jazeera was conceived and brought to existence by the Qatari Government in 1996.

It was not only a ground-breaking and an amazing endeavor by a tiny tribe/Sheikdom in the vast desert of the wretched Middle-East. It, also informed a news-starved Arab world with some controversial, (relatively-spe aking) facts about the farce called the Arab Democracy. (another Oxymoron?)

Does anyone remember when the Cheney/Rumsfeld administration decided, to unjustly destroy Iraq?
Does anyone remember when Rumsfeld was singing the praises of the accuracy of the US Air Force fighter Jets Bombings?
I do.
But I also remember Al Jazeera showing the real carnage in Iraq! The thousands of innocent Iraqis : Men, women and children blown to smithereens.
No U.S. news channel dared to show, never mind, question the atrociousness of the Neo-Cons follies!
Every U.S news channel bought the crap coming out of D.C. and broadcasted it!
So the USAF "accidentally" bombed the Al Jazeera Baghdad office.

Al Jazeera made sure that America, sometimes, no matter how loud it screams Equality, Transparency... etc, can also be capable of tactics that would make A Zimbabwean dictator proud!

That was Al Jazeera then!

I don't know about now.
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riffi
0 #10 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased Reportingriffi 2010-10-18 06:08
finally somebody open the flood gate I mean the good one.I am tired of the arab dictator leaders trying to control the media and the islamic religion for their benefits and their tribe mentality culture.Truthse eker congrats and I second your motion.
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Chomskyan
0 #11 Another Conspiracy TheoryChomskyan 2010-10-18 12:31
It's pretty unfair to make a conclusive judgment because of Aljazeera’s lack of coverage of some kind of lesser known figures in Morocco regardless of the political implicature which might lurk within. Mainstream media ,as discourse, impinges with various political macro contexts, cognitive mind management and manipulative ideology processing that is way impossible to grab a tiny margin of neutral coverage therein. It's undeniable that Aljazeera was the first Arabic speaking TV channel that stripped the fig leaf off the Arab governments. A thing the Arab audience must be thankful for. So let's move beyond fevered manichaeism so long as we, Moroccans, don't have any forms of interaction or communication which may cope with the kind of overseas media (regardless of its leanings) that we imbibe on a daily basis.
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Jalal N
0 #12 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Al-Jazeera TV : Biased ReportingJalal N 2010-10-31 05:40
I agree totally with the last comment, and aloud me to add that Aljazeera is a tool serving the political agenda of some turned mind of Arab governments.
obviously I am talking about Qatar, the close friend of Algeria, this tinny and emotionally complexed country was always seeking to get involved in issues bigger than it's size.
the freedom of speech of aljazeera ends at Qatar doors.
Aljazeera is against all the Arab or muslim states in favor of establishing contacts with Israel like Mauritania, but when it comes to Qatar they become suddenly blind.
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sorlag
0 #13 good call Morocco !sorlag 2010-11-04 00:26
Morocco's ousting of Aljazeera a long over due.
there is a clear difference between freedom of press / speech and freedom to conspire and freedom of selective reporting.
By watching Aljazeera for a while, it gets very obvious that they use different filters for different countries, for example whenever there is something negative in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia or USA, their reporters are the first on the scene and they dont hold any effort in documenting every side of the story, but somehow, those same reporters disappear all of a sudden whenever something positive is happening in such countries.
the Arab world, and by following Aljazeera's coverage of the latest economic crisis, have almost believed that the 400Million USA citizens are starving to death.

Aljazeera may have started as a free Mic, but unfortunately ended up pathetic drama queen, dumb tool in the hand of Quatar's fat guys.

Morocco's government has made the right decision, they should now back up the decision with a court order.
if Aljazeera wants to report from Morocco, they are welcome as long as they dont filter newes as they see fits their own agenda.

when a nobody called Fatima whatever who was clearly seeking Media attention farted in Spain, Aljazeera was all over the "Breaking" news, but When a highly respected Polizario official gets arrested and tortured on Algerian ground for sounding his opinion, Aljazeera did not even mention the news ! where is the truth? where are the slogans?

if Aljazeera is in love with an outlaw separatist movement like polisario, then maybe they should report from tindouf? where they would be raped by Algerian military.

Moreover, how many extremist separatist groups exist in the world? ETA in Spain, ERA in Irland, Quabilis in Algeria even some Californian and Texans want Independence from the USA's federal government ! where is Aljazeera then?

It looks like Aljazeera has two separate lists of countries, a list of countries that it uses whenever they want to talk about progress and positive blabla... like Iran, Quatar, Syria etc... and a list of countries that it mentions whenever there is something negative; Morocco, unfortunately belongs to the latter, and that is most likely because countries like Morocco have a high tolerance for freedom of speech and can accept critics openly, on the other hand, Aljazeera knows for a fact that the Algerian folks will riot and that the Algerian government for example will stop even the broadcasting of all Aljazeera channels on its territory if Aljazeera officially mentions anything about how the Algerian generals are making Switzerland the richest country in the world or how the Algerian president is a puppet in the hand of the Algerian secret service or how the Algerians have been brain washed to consider Moroccan's, Tunisians and lately Egyptians as their lifetime sworn enemies, or how in 2010, main Algerian cities still dont have full faucet water systems or how an Average Algerian wouldn't know the difference between a banana and a strawberry without googling it, or how the government in Algeria had the genius of creating semi fake organisations and companies without a product for the sole reason of dispatching petroleum money to the people in order to fake an economy...

Aljazeera has crossed the line, and i think both Moroccan people and Moroccan gov are tired of their crap.
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