Al-Jazeera discovered its true power when they realized they have the ability to influence Arabic public opinion and Arabic Politics. Even though the network had gained immense popularity amongst the Arab people, most Arab governments viewed Al-Jazeera as a nuisance that challenged their power and threatened the stability of their regimes. Most of these governments, who are unaccustomed to opposition , were taken completely by surprise when the channel broadcasted topics that they had preferred to keep quiet about along with the direct accusations
of corruption. As a result of their anger, "the Arab States Broadcasting Union has denied Al Jazeera- the odd man out-access to the Pact of Arab Honor for not abiding by the 'code of honor' which promotes brotherhood between Arab nations" (Zayani 3). This was obviously politically based along with the banning of Al-Jazeera reporters, their denial of visas, and the shutdown of their satellite offices. I personally disagree with the actions taken by Arab governments to put Al-Jazeera at a disadvantage because it's not like they were reporting false information. They were hissed at simply for telling the truth, a truth that may destroy regimes by awakening minds. During this time, Al-Jazeera was praised by the U.S. for its brave remarks and call for public freedom but this did not last for long. Upon its formation, Al Jazeera's target audience were the 35 million with Arab speaking tongue and heritage who are based in the Arab world. However, after the attacks of September 11, 2001, everything changed. According to Zayani, "With its logo aired everywhere in the world, it catapulted to international prominence to become a super-station" (21). This can be credited to the fact that it was the only news station with reporters in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and its airing of Bin Laden video tapes and many graphic images. However, it has the received the majority of its negative criticism from the US administration during the Iraq war when it presented "mounting evidence that the vast majority of the Arab world simply doesn't believe President Bush when he talks about bringing democracy and freedom to their region" (Loewenstein). They accused Al-Jazeera of igniting the flames of the Arab anger against American foreign policy by showing anti-war propaganda and video footage displaying U.S. troops intentionally killing women and children. It was because of Al-Jazeera's pure belief that it was their duty to show this brutality to the world that it was harshly criticized by the U.S. administration. The U.S. accused Al-Jazeera of irresponsible and unprofessional journalism that was "politically incorrect" (Zayani 21). This harsh criticism that Al-Jazeera was facing did anything but weaken its influence. In fact, it did the opposite. Al-Jazeera experienced a great deal of attention during this time because people all over the world were turning on their network to see what the big fuss was all about. It
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- Fall '19
- Arab League, United Arab Emirates, Arab World