Monday, August 09, 2004


Allawi government shuts down al Jazeera

So, if I have this correct, the best way to democracy are (1) take active steps towards declaring martial law and (2) shut down media outlets that aren't in step with the party line. Months after being liberated from Saddam Hussein by the US, the Iraqi people have now been liberated again, from al Jazeera television. Only a "temporary measure," Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station "a chance to re-adjust their policy against Iraq." Of course, some crazy conspiracy theorists might think that this has something to do with the US (who just happens to hate al Jazeera and occupy militarily Iraq... but other than that, no connections), according to the YahooNews article:
In an Arab world rife with conspiracy theories, the decision to close the offices of the popular channel could reinforce the perception that decisions by Iraq's interim government are influenced by the United States, which has long complained about Al-Jazeera's coverage.
I don't know why everybody is always trying to blame America. Abu Aardvark offers this analysis:
Wish I could say that this is a surprise, but it isn't. The Iraqi opposition in exile has long harbored a grudge against al Jazeera, and now that they're in "power" they get to act on it. And the Americans, far from urging them to show restraint or to honor media freedoms, are egging them on and offering an excellent example of democratic practice.

Ah, the heck with it. This administration and its Iraqi allies are very much on the same page when it comes to the Arab media: the more controlled, the less free, the better. So even though the closure of al Jazeera is new news, the story of our authoritarian approach to the Arab media itself is old news. Old and depressing and so very, very counterproductive.

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