The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention

Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention | Media |

AJE forced to redo report on UN to highlight Qatari emir:

Despite protests from staff that the emir's comments – a repetition of previous calls for Arab intervention in Syria – were not the most important aspect of the UN debate, the two-minute video was re-edited and Obama's speech was relegated to the end of the package.

There are hints at staff dissatisfaction within the film, available for viewing on al-Jazeera's website and YouTube, which notes that the emir "represents one of the smallest countries in the Arab world … but Qatar has been one of the loudest voices condemning Syria".

The episode left a bitter taste among staff amid complaints that this was the most heavy-handed editorial intervention at the global broadcaster, which has long described itself as operating independent of its Qatari ownership.

An al-Jazeera spokesman said the emir's speech was "a significant development" that day and the broadcaster "consequently gave it prominence".

Perhaps it should be given consequent prominence when the Emir of Qatar unveils the army he intends to use in Syria.