‘No independent journalism any more’ says ex-Al Jazeera reporter

Mar 14, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  54 Comments

by Anne Sewell (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

Ali Hashem, an ex-Al Jazeera correspondent, says that television channels have turned into political parties, pushing the agenda for “some outside forces.”

Recently an article on Digital Journal reported that key staff members of the Al Jazeera news service were resigning due to bias over the Syria situation. Ali Hashem told RT that he has come into the spotlight after resigning from the television channel, citing its bias.

The former Al Jazeera correpondent in Beirut vented his anger over the one-sided coverage of Syria on Al Jazeera in several emails, which have been leaked by Syrian hackers. He said that Al Jazeera refused to cover the events in Bahrain.

In an exclusive interview with RT, the former Beirut correspondent Hashem, while not wishing to discuss his resignation, did stress that these days “independent media is a myth.”

“There is no independent media anymore. It is whose agenda is paying the money for the media outlet,” he said. “Politicization of media means that media outlets are today like political parties. Everyone is adopting a point of view, fight for it and bring all the tools and all the means they have in order to make it reach the biggest amount of viewers.”

The journalist believes that nowadays the viewer has to compare news from several different outlets, and then make his own conclusions. “Today we are in the era of open source information and everyone can reach whatever information he wants.”

Hashem further said that the problem with this is that some news outlets reach larger audiences than others. “What they say will [seem] to be a fact while it might not be the fact,” he said.

Hashem believes that the mass media should be “immune” and unbiased when reporting war and conflict, as this guarantees freedom of speech. “In the year 2006, Israel bombarded Al-Manar television because they said Al-Manar was doing propaganda war against Israel,” he said. “Al-Manar was on one side of this war and they were supporting the Hezbollah and the resistance and the war against Israel. But does this give Israel the excuse to bombard Al-Manar? Certainly not.”

We should as journalists, whatever our point of view is, (because it is clear there is no independent journalism anymore) have the right to say whatever he wants safely, without being threatened to be bombarded or killed or executed or arrested,” Hashem concluded.

Several key staff members have recently resigned from the Beirut Bureau of Al Jazeera including Ali Hashem, the managing director Hassan Shaaban and also producer Mousa Ahmad. All these staff members cited bias in the channel’s coverage of the “Arab Spring”, especially with regards to Syria and Bahrain, as their reason for resigning.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]


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