Al Jazeera helping militancy?

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Published on February 3, 2021
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Sharif Shahab Uddin:

There are lot of discussions, criticisms and debates over the Qatar-based television channel Al Jazeera. The channel is a flagship of the media conglomerate Al Jazeera Media Network. There is no other global news agency which has drawn flak because of its policy and news authenticity like Al Jazeera.

After observing several investigations against Al Jazeera, it seems that this is no news channel; it is a spokesperson of different gangs or groups.

In the latest instance of its malpractice in journalism, Al Jazeera ran the false and defamatory report against Bangladesh on Monday. The Bangladesh government has officially dismissed the report calling it “false and defamatory” and a desperate “smear campaign” instigated by extremists and their allies, working in London and elsewhere.

The report is biased, fabricated, provocative and defamatory. In making the report, Al Jazeera did not follow the ethics and professionalism of journalism. This was totally one-sided and baseless.

We wonder how an international news channel comes to a conclusion about the top brass of any armed forces without talking to any responsible person of the country. Where are their morals, principals and professionalism?

The foreign ministry statement noted that the main “source” of Al Jazeera’s allegations is an alleged international criminal claimed to be a “psychopath” by Al-Jazeera itself.

Bangladesh has achieved a lot of successes in many fields. There is no doubt that the country is going in the very right direction under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. When the whole world came to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh has gained several achievements, including maintaining a good pace in the remittance inflow, forex reserves, infrastructural development, economic development and so on. 

Amid such development endeavours, running the Al Jazeera report maligns the progress of Bangladesh. It shows the biasness and ill-motive against the development of the country.

Al Jazeera started its journey with less criticism earlier in 1996. Later, questions were arisen about the news channel’s ethics and policies, and authenticity of its news contents.

Algeria was first to ban Al Jazeera for airing biased and provocative news items. Iraq also temporarily banned Al Jazeera for the same reasons in the same year. Later, in 2011 many journalists of the news channel resigned with several allegations against it.

According to a United Nations Security Council Resolution, “Freedom of expression cannot be used to justify and shield the promotion of extremist narratives.” It means the media cannot establish or promote extremist narratives or discussions under the banner of “Freedom of expression”.

It seems that the editorial policy of Al Jazeera is promoting extremists and provoking and misguiding others with its news items.

Al Jazeera interviewed terrorist group Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in a grand style after the deadly and brutal ‘Twin Tower Blast’ in America in 2001. The news channel also interviewed several other top terrorists and militants and brought them into the limelight.

In 2013, Al Jazeera opened its office in the US while Al-Qaeda opened its office in Qatar the same year. Following that, an agency named Qatar Charity became the medium of receiving finance for militants. Al Jazeera was allegedly involved in the whole process. 

It is alleged that Al Jazeera donated 1.25 million pound to radical militant group ISIS.

We all know about the activities and biased roles of Al Jazeera in Bangladesh. Earlier on May 05 in 2013, the news channel misguided people broadcasting fake and fabricated news centring a clash between Hefazat-e-Islam followers and law enforcers in Dhaka’s Motijheel area.

The TV channel went against the true information regarding the trials of those who faced trial for wartime atrocities, including crimes against humanity, genocide, rape and arson, during the Liberation War in 1971.

Al Jazeera’s news broadcasting during the protests advocating improved road safety (Nirapad Sarak Andolon), quota reformists’ protest and so on is also objectionable.

The channel’s irresponsible news broadcasting is simply ‘yellow journalism’. Moreover, its involvement with fundamentalist groups and extremist groups is now a matter of concern. 

On several occasions, it took statements from David Bergman, who launched a global campaign against the trial of the war criminals in Bangladesh, and Tasneem Khalili, an alleged Jamaat activist who went into self-exile during the caretaker government to escape trial.

It is shameful and demeaning. Hopefully they will be regretful for their mistakes and practise proper journalism in future.