Covering War

Now Twittering: AJGaza

The New York Times recently  printed an article by Noel Cohen about the limited access Americans have to Al Jazeera’s coverage of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.  This, as Cohen notes, is in part because the station is carried only by cable providers in Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Washington, D.C.

Why is it so important that Americans see Al Jazeera’s coverage? Aren’t there other networks to watch?  Of course, but most of those other networks are reporting with a severe handicap- they are not in Gaza.


Cohen writes:

In a conflict where the Western news media have been largely prevented from reporting from Gaza because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli military, Al Jazeera has had a distinct advantage. It was already there.

The Qatar-based  network has frequently been accused by the Bush administration as being biased and “supporting global terror.” The network has even been the target of US military attacks.  In this contentious political climate it has been difficult for Al Jazeera to gain access to the US media market.  Canada as well has placed severe restrictions on the network’s ability to broadcast.  In  Israel last year the  government voted to boycott the channel, saying, “These reports are untrustworthy and they hurt us, and they arouse people to terrorist activities.”

And yet at least some in the mainstream western press are starting to see value in Al Jazeera’s reporting.  CNN has contracted with the network to carry some of its footage, and  just this week, in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Gidon Levy refered to Al Jazeera correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin as “My War Hero”, inviting his readers to “tune to this wise and considered broadcaster.” Noel Cohen’s article in the Times implies a similar invitation to tune in, though it was ironically buried in the business section under the banner “Media & Advertising”.

Viewers in the US  can watch selected Al Jazeera English clips  on  Youtube, or can stream broadcasts live  at www.livestation.com , but this remains a limited market for television news.  Mohyeldin, who is from the US,  seems all too aware that his reports not reaching a broader American public:

It’s very frustrating to know that your work, and al-Jazeera English’s work, which I think can really give people the reality of the situation . . . is not reaching people who can make an impact here on the ground immediately.

UPDATE: Al Jazeera Announces Launch of Free Footage under Creative Commons License.

About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
This entry was posted in Brian Pickett: Author and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s