aljazeera

Press freedom is under attack, nothing symbolises this more than the critique of Aljazeera.

 

If your fingers start roaming the upper numbers in the list of TV channels available may stumble upon Aljazeera.

On Freeview, it is channel 108 and for providing an alternative view on global politics it is superb. Never superficial, Aljazeera provides editorial of events around the world, which is often free of a westerner, but also eastern gloss.  As much as possible there is no gloss, but an attempt at objectivity.

It has had its controversial moments, for example, once broadcasting a speech by Osama bin Laden in full, which did not endear the channel to everyone, but if your view of news coverage is that we are all adults, and we should be told the full story, then Aljazeera certainly fits the bill.

But we live in an age of media lies – when newspapers and TV channels twist the news to support a certain narrative. Some news outlets portray the news with an angle that feels downright nasty.

Sadly, in such times, governments often seem to pick upon the media that attempt objectivity. Theresa May’s main rival for the position of leader of the Tory party last year, Andrea Leadsom, has said that the media needs to be more patriotic.   Sad indeed that when certain media stories seem to promote intolerance, a woman that could so easily have been Prime Minister turns on the likes of the BBC.

In the US, the president re-tweets a doctored video apparently showing President Trump beating up a journalist from CNN  by a wrestling ring.  It may be that the US president thought it was funny, which to an eight-year-old, it may well be, but it also seems to promote hatred of the press.

And now, one of the most totalitarian regimes in the world, Saudi Arabia, is attempting to force Qatar, the funder of Aljazeera, to shut the TV channel down.

It is an outrageous move by Saudi, but maybe it simply amounts to the next step in an attempt by certain politicians to create a media that is little more than their mouth-piece.

It must be resisted, and the Saudi’s attempt to have Aljazeera must not succeed, nothing less that the freedom of the press is at stake.