The Two Tongues of Al-Jazeera

you think you’ve seen it all? Well, you’re mistaken. Normally, news organisations do keep a consistent, logical and meaningful line of thought that results in coverage that keeps the public well informed and entertained. It seems that Al-Jazeera begs to differ.

During the events of 30 August, the Qatari news organisation changed the facts, tone and intensity of its coverage according to geography.

The Two Tongues of Al-Jazeera
The Two Tongues of Al-Jazeera

Falling in line with all commentators and news agencies, Al-Jazeera America issued a news piece on 30 August saying, “several thousand people heeded calls by the Muslim Brotherhood and held small protests across Egypt Friday against the country’s recent coup and deadly crackdown… In one of the larger marches of about 5,000 people, protesters chanted slogans against the country’s army chief, General Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who led the popularly-backed 3 July ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, a long-time leader of the Brotherhood.”
Would reading the above lines put Al-Jazeera in the prism of a professional news organisation that conveys the truth about what really took place in the streets of Cairo and a handful of other Egyptian governorates? You’re mistaken again.

What Al-Jazeera Tweeted via Egypt Targeted Account ?

Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr’s account on Twitter issued 35 tweets on the same day quoting dozens of sources, mostly Islamists and the so-called Coalition to Support Legitimacy, stating that the streets of Cairo and other governorates were filled with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators calling for the restoration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime. The online domains of Al-Jazeera Mubasher and Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr released seven news stories, all of them saying “Mass Protests in Egypt” in the headlines, and inside two of these stories, the editor wrote “hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets”.

Losing Credibility by Choice //

If you are not a Muslim Brotherhood member or lover and a keen follower of Al-Jazeera, you will probably know what I’m talking about. Ever since the populous overthrow of Morsi, the “professional” news organisation failed to meet the most basic ingredients of a neutral news story when covering Egypt. For the majority of Egyptians, the Qatari news channel is a mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood and has done nothing but incite and falsify facts to influence viewers and readers.

The above represents a trend that has been evident in many of the videos shared by thousands of Facebook users and which shows people feigning injured posing for the cameras of Al-Jazeera. Other videos carry shots of people standing in awfully quiet corners and speaking of horrors they are witnessing.

Losing credibility is a choice that Al-Jazeera opted for months ago and it seems that it won’t let go. The discrepancy between what is being aired and circulated on Al-Jazeera America and on Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr epitomises the dilemma of the news channel that carries rhetoric extremely inconsistent with that of Qatari officials.
The result is a growing resentment of the channel along with the policies of the small emirate trying to play a role in shaping a very wide and complex region called the Middle East. Such resentment is very clear in the amount of sarcasm and jokes generated by Egyptians on Facebook and Twitter criticising what they describe as a role not fitting a microscopic dot on the global map.

News According To Where Do You Live //

Officially, Egyptian authorities did close ranks against what amounts to serious meddling in domestic affairs and incitement of violence. The recent administrative procedures and the closure of the offices of the channel in Egypt are translation of a populous anger and dismay.

So if you want to enjoy the neutral coverage of Al-Jazeera, you will have to be a resident of the American continent but bear in mind that another human being will be a victim of malicious, false and politically driven coverage only because he resides in the Middle East. Lay back and enjoy the ride.

Ahmed Reda

Experienced Director Corporate Communications with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Strong media and communication professional skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Crisis Communications, Journalism, International Relations, and Corporate Communications.