Wednesday, August 11, 2004


al Jazeera responds

Maher Abdallah, head of international relations at al-Jazeera, responds to the Iraqi interim government's decision to shut down the station for a month in Iraq. Abdallah writes:
This might be a new venture for the interim government of Allawi, but it is not a new experience for al-Jazeera. Our offices have been closed in many an Arab capital before.

The wording of the justification of such action may differ from one country to another, but the gist is always the same: undermining state security (normally code for criticising the leadership); providing a platform for terrorists (usually means political opposition); and insulting the people of the country (normally means criticising a failed policy).

In the face of these policies, al-Jazeera has always had a simple approach: we are willing to stand corrected when shown that we were wrong, and to offer equal air time for the official version of events.
Abdallah's conclusion is something that Allawi, Bush, and others should take heed of: "Blaming the messenger for bad news might help in hiding these from the public for a while. But it doesn't make them go away." Although I guess Bush just hopes that he can hide it from the public for a couple more months. George Bush has to be loving Amber Frey right now.

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