Al Jazeera’s former bureau chief confirms what everyone already knows – the network uses the media as a weapon.
A former Al Jazeera English bureau chief in Cairo has spoken out about the Qatari-owned network’s unethical methods, calling it a “weapon against its neighbors” and accusing it of endangering the “lives of journalists because of dealings with Hamas, [and] the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Mohamed Fahmy, who previously reported for the Los Angeles Times and CNN before being hired by Al Jazeera in September 2013, told The Jerusalem Post he first noticed that something was not right when he spent time in an Egyptian prison during the Arab Spring.
A group of Muslim Brotherhood inmates “described how they were involved in organizing protests and filming them, and a lot of their footage was being aired on Al Jazeera and that doesn’t represent citizen journalism,” Fahmy said, adding that the group of students was “banned and later designated as terrorists, and the network kept us journalists in the dark about it.”
Al Jazeera openly supported the so-called Arab Spring in Egypt and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the mother organization of Gaza-based Hamas, a terrorist organization Qatar has bankrolled with hundreds of millions of dollars.
“We were sent to [Tora] Scorpion Prison hell hole with ISIS members and Muslim Brotherhood and others,” Fahmy explained, speaking of how he and his colleagues were arrested on charges of conspiring with terrorists and operating without licenses, a result of Al Jazeera being “clearly biased to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He added that “the network coordinated and took directives from Qatar’s government,” which put its journalists in harm’s way. “The Arabic channel and Qatar using this platform as a weapon against its neighbors left us English reporters as targets, and that is what Al Jazeera does,” Fahmy said.
His comments came at a time that the Israeli Government Press Office is trying to revoke the press credentials of Al Jazeera correspondent Elias Karram. Fahmy said he sympathizes with the decision. “The government of Israel has the right to stop and warn Al Jazeera or to take a harsh stance when they learn they are dealing in the news gathering with Hamas, which is a designated terrorist group,” he said.
He rejected the accusation that, by trying to revoke Al Jazeera press credentials, Israel is violating press freedom. “They [Qatar] use the press,” Fahmy said, repeating his view that the network engages in “unethical journalism.”
This is not the first time that Al Jazeera’s objectivity has been questioned. The US ambassador to Qatar wrote in a 2009 diplomatic cable, which was later released by Wikileaks, that he believed that Al Jazeera is “an informal tool of [the Government of Qatar’s] foreign policy.”
Skepticism over Al Jazeera’s objectivity in general has dogged the network’s stations. There are prominent charges of interference from Al Jazeera’s Qatari funders. David Marash, the first Washington anchor for Al Jazeera English, quit in 2008 over attempts to erode the station’s objectivity, while dozens of employees from Al Jazeera’s Egyptian outlet resigned in 2013 amid accusations that Qatar was forcing the station to provide positive coverage of the the Muslim Brotherhood.
By: The Tower