By Harvey Oberfeld
August 30th, 2015
Three Al Jazeera journalists have been sentenced to three years in prison after being found GUILTY by an Egyptian court of failing to register as journalists as required under Egyptian law, importing equipment without security officials’ approval, broadcasting “false news” and using a hotel as a broadcast point without permission.
The free world’s journalists, human rights activists and politicians are quite right in protesting the CRIMINAL convictions of Egyptian Baher Mohamed, Australian Peter Greste and Canadian Mohammed Fahmy.
BUT don’t tell me the three are totally “innocent”.
Unlike almost all of those who have posed for pictures, issued press releases and organized campaigns on behalf of the three, I actually have WATCHED … or perhaps I should say monitored … Al Jazeera for a few years.
And there is NO DOUBT in my mind that Al Jazeera WAS and IS a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood and was HIGHLY biased in supporting and even promoting its pro-Islamic agenda, downplaying its anti-democratic laws and the almost dictatorial imposition of autocratic rule by Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.
That has always been my subjective opinion … arrived at by WATCHING their “news” … and I have written about this a year ago: HERE
Al Jazeera operates out of and has very close financial/political ties with the government Qatar, an Arab dictatorship that has politically and financially supported not only the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities and agenda but also that of the UN-designated terrorist organization Hamas as well: they are NO innocents … and certainly NO great example of democracy for Egypt or any country to follow.
And the three convicted “journalists” were active members and participants in and promoters of Al Jazeera’s and Qatar’s agenda.
We should not forget that.
Canadian Fahmy (who also held Egyptian citizenship) was Cairo Bureau Chief for Al Jazeera. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to believe … as a manager …. he was not complicit and supportive and a promoter of what I clearly felt was and still is Al Jazeera’s biased reporting and agenda.
But is that criminal? NO! A lousy journalist or news manager perhaps … but that is not a criminal offence.
After all, the world today unfortunately features many other examples of what I would classify as biased “advocacy” disguised as news: Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, BBC World and CBC The National are a few I have watched … and do not regard as fair and impartial.
I would condemn those who work for them as second-rate journalists or worse, procurers and distributors of biased propaganda … and I would not want them to teach journalism to anyone who really aspires to be a fair and impartial reporter of facts.
Criminals? NO! But NOT innocents, either!
In fact, Al Jazeera’s own Richard Gizbert (also a Canadian) summed it up best in a recent promo for his own program The Listening Post:
“Without a messenger, there is no story. ”
I would add: and no propaganda passed off as news either.
Wow Harvey!! Do you work or know the going on’s of how Al Jazerra works?Of course not, but you feel you can preach what you think as if its true — that’s great journalism 😉
Bottom line, these journalists should not have been sentenced & really the Canadian government should be doing more to get its own citizen out of this!!
If the journalists were say from CNN/NBC/ etc..there would be a louder out cry from not just journalists but also governments!
Why do you arbitrarily conclude I do not know “what’s going on” of how Al Jazeera works? Just because my observations of their “news” …over the past few years … arrived at a different conclusion than yours? The closer their coverage gets to the middle East, the more political and biased their “reporting” is, in my view little more than Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas propaganda. And of course, it’s just a coincidence that the dictatorship of Qatar is a HUGE supporter of both. As for these journaists being sentenced, did you not read either of my two blogs on the topic? I said IN BOTH they were NOT GUILTY of any criminal wrongdoing! Thus their convictions were totally improper. But “innocent” …not in my journalistic book.
Great article,not a fan of Al Jazeera.
Spot on Harvey. Still, as the scorpion said to the frog as they were both drowning, “Don’t blame me. It’s in my nature.” We don’t expect Radio Vaticana to espouse abortion and the like, and they make no apologies for it. And Al Jazeera is what it is too, to use a much overworked cliche. For Mohammed Fahmy (“I am a proud Egyptian!” — Canada hasn’t done enough to get me out of this pickle!) to claim otherwise is a bit rich. No, he is not innocent.
The conviction of those three Al Jeezera journalists is a complete travesty of injustice, even though a strong case could be made that Al Jeezera was biased in favour of the Islamic Brotherhood.
Oberfeld would do well to speak out about the former injustice, as well !
It seems that no capable western journalist is safe in Egypt, anymore, from CBS’s Lara Logan getting molested and gang groped by a mob of angry male Egyptians while police stood and watched, to CNN’s Anderson Cooper getting the shit beat out of him in Cairo on live tv, to now Mohammed Fahmy being tossed in prison by an Egyptian kangaroo court for essentially doing his job.
When Canadians go to jail for unfair reasons, we need to protest that, by the Prime Minister calling the Egyptian government on Monday and tearing a strip out of the Egyptian head boss.
Anything less would be a sham !
However, if Oberfeld wants to talk about a good example of bias in reporting, he could refer to none other than his own BCTV television station.
For far too many years, the tendency with then BCTV and its news director Cameron Bell was to pretty much fuck over the residents of rural B.C. north and east of Chilliwack,
From 1970 to the 1990’s, a period of some 20 years, no news from the Interior or from the North ever got seriously covered, unless it was bad news.
As most of us go back a long ways with BCTV and now Global, ( I am a viewer for over 30 years) it wasn’t until the 1990’s (after Cameron Bell got fired), that the Cariboo and other places got serious journalistic attention from BCTV.
Before the investigative reports of Clive Jackson, Jas Johal and others into the Anaheim Lake Indian band,, there was very little coverage of the Interior by BCTV, even though every community in the B.C. north pretty much watched BCTV back then.
So, with Oberfeld’s recent comments, it is a very good example of pot calling the kettle black !
Whatever someone’s opinion is of a news organization, we should all agree that no one deserves to be jailed because of a point of view.
Harv, your opinion is now surprise because you were never much of a reporter and now you’re lamenting that by LAMBASTING !! (in ALL-CAPS) anyone who does their job in the most trying circumstances. All three Al-Jazeera journalists were doing what good journalists have always done – holding feet to fire, always questioning, expressing skepticism. You? WHO KNOWS WHAT DRIVES YOU!!?!?
Get a life. And GET REAL !!!!