City of Brass

City of Brass


Israel censors Al Jazeera

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

During the Gaza war, Al Jazeera was the only news outfit able to report on the carnage from the field, by virtue of actually being on-location, while the international media was forced to watch from afar by the Israeli government. Al Jazeera’s innovative “journalism 2.0″ reporting was of course an embarrassment for the IDF, whose use of white phosphorous against the innocent civilians in Gaza was exposed for the world to see.

Now, Israel has reaffirmed its membership in that select group of nations who fear free speech and engage in censorship against the press, by censoring Al Jazeera in retaliation.

Israeli officials say they are taking measures to restrict the work of the Arabic television network, al-Jazeera, inside Israel.

The work visas of some al-Jazeera employees based in Israel will not be renewed, according to reports.

Al-Jazeera’s journalists will have limited access to Israeli news conferences and briefings.

The irony of this is that – like almost every other Israeli government action – it harms Israel more than it hurts Al Jazeera, because Al Jazeera routinely seeks out Israeli officials and puts them on television to argue the Israeli point of view in broadcasts across the Arab world.

The concept of free speech was never a “western” one – it is a universal principle, violated universally by western and non-western nations alike. Despite being (as the self-styled Defenders of Western Civilization insist) the “only democracy in the middle east“, Israel has now joined Egypt and Saudi Arabia in being just another middle eastern country that fears the power of the press and the opinions of its own citizens.

I humbly suggest that Israel’s government consider joining the effort by the Arab states to impose a regional authority to “regulate” satellite television. Their rationales are in perfect alignment.

But sarcasm aside – the US should do everything it can to promote an open and free press in the middle east, because there are tangible benefits for the muslim world and western world alike. Acknowledging that requires a certain maturity and faith in our principles. It would seem that Israel (and Europe, for that matter) have neither.

Related: Abu Aardvark’s extensive commentary on President Obama’s interview with Al Arabiyya. Also, Bartholomew discusses the hate speech laws of the Netherlands in the context of Euopean free speech (or lack thereof). I am struck by how the arguments of European countries to justify their restrictions on free speech and religion are so similar to those of the Arab states in seeking to muzzle journalists. As always, Marc Lynch and Arabic Media Shack are the best sources of commentary on the topic of Arab media.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Vote now in the (delayed slightly) Brass Crescent Awards!
Voting in this year's Brass Crescent Awards is now underway, after a few months' delay. Here's the explanation from the official site: We would like to sincerely apologize for the delay in this year's voting. The reason for the delay was that we did not have sufficient blogsphere nominations as w

posted 10:30:42pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Midamar halal beef - charged with fraud
This is disturbing news - the company Midamar, well known for its halal meat products, has been charged with fraud for falsely advertising its beef as halal to Muslims: The indictment said the companies told customers its cattle were slaughtered by hand by specially trained Muslim slaughtermen w

posted 10:45:40pm Dec. 15, 2014 | read full post »

men should accept blame; women should assert agency
The following rant was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and I have her permission to reproduce it in its entirety. Systems of patriarchy are sometimes so entrenched, we just accept them as part of normal daily interactions. Popular discourse often maintains that it's men who do such and s

posted 10:56:12pm Dec. 01, 2014 | read full post »

My first day of wearing rida to school
Zainab Jamali is a teenaged Muslim American girl in Los Angeles. As a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, she recently took her misaq (an oath marking the symbolic pas

posted 10:08:13am Nov. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Muslims en masse for Modi at Madison Square
Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a huge crowd of Indian expats in New York City on Monday night, outlining his vision of India's future and mak

posted 4:29:29pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.