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White Coup At Al-Jazeera Channel
Is there a change in Aljazeera’s policies?!! This is what is currenly reported from behind the scenes
Thursday, June 28,2007 00:00
by Abdul Rahman Mansour, Ikhwaneb
Is there a change in Aljazeera’s policies?!! This is what is currenly reported from behind the scenes of the most effective channel in the Middle East and may by in the world soon.
 
Danny Schechter of Mediachannel.org said in his article "Pro-US coup At Al-Jazeera": " If true, this may mean the end of AlJazeera’s journalistic independence and current orientation. Was The Bush Administration behind it?”
 
Then hat happened ? !! News carried a radical change in Al-Jazeera network, The Deputy Emir and Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani yesterday issued the Emiri Decision No 28 of the year 2007 forming Al Jazeera Satellite Network board of directors, while Waddah Khanfar, the general manager of Al-Jazeera network and its Board member was absent.
 
During the office tenure of Waddah Khanfar, the channel witnessed its most effective periods, from the Iraq war as Waddah went there and contributed to establishing the first office of the first Arab channel there, as Al-Jazeera office contributed to airinge the atmosphere of the US occupation of Iraq, disturbing successive Iraqi governments, till closing the office upon orders of the Iraqi government and the US administration!!
 
Also, the war of Lebanon erupted to show Al-Jazeera’s huge effect on the Arab minds as it contributed to showing the role of the Arab people in supporting the resistance of Israeli occupation of Arab lands.
 
The British Daily Mirror newspaper reported that said it has reliable press reports confirming that US President George Bush informed British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the former plans to direct a strike against Aljazeera!! This proved the huge effect of this small-sized channel in a small country like Qatar!!
 
Al-Jazeera’s prominence was highlighted in its airing Muslim activities in Britain, and the United States, and supporting the reform agenda in the Arab world against the foreign reform that the US administration has been imposing on several Arab governments, till Hamas assumed power to turn the table against international and specifically US schemes. Till the latest sudden change took place !!
 
The question is: Why has this white coup or change took place while during Khanfar was absent. and why was it staged by persons who are well known for their controversial professional history? !!
 
It all started when the Emir of Qatar,Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani,received a security envoy from the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and received from the envoy two files about Waddah Khanfar, the first file was prepared by the Palestinian intelligence, and the second file was prepared by the Jordanian intelligence as he, Waddah Khanfar, lived in Jordan as a Palestinian refugee and graduated from a Jordanian university .
Waddah Khanfar, an activist in the Hamas movement ( an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood group), and one of the most prominent leaders in Hamas Office in Sudan, where he led Al-Jazeera network towards a proficiency and prominence acknowledged all over the world. He has been moved now from his position and was replaced by Hamad Al Kuwari, Qatar ’s previous ambassador to Washington, and ex-Minister of Information in Qatar . The board of directors includes persons who have a controversial professional history. Mahmoud Shamam, a Libyan dissident, appointed a member in the new board of directors, was the former chief of the Arab edition of the US magazine Newsweek which is distributed in the Middle East !!
 
The new board of directors is headed by Hamad Bin Thamer Al Khalifa, the head of the channel’s board of directors since it was established. Mahmoud Shamam is a US-leaning journalist. Ahmed Abdullah Al Khulaifi, a delegate member, has wide authorities in the general, executive and financial supervision of the channel, more than the powers given to Waddah Khanfar, the general manager of the network (Al-Jazeera Arabic- Al-Jazeera English - Al-Jazeera Documentary – Al-Jazeera channel for children - Sports channels - Al-Jazeera.Net - Al-Jazeera research center- Al-Jazeera training center). Khanfar was removed from the new board of directors .
 
The board includes also a woman for the first time, Mariam Rashed Youssef Al-Khater, an unknown journalist!! Hamad Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari was assigned with restructioning the strategy of the most prominent media channel in the Middle East . The board includes also Abdullah Mubarak Al Khulaifi, the ex- Qatari Minister of Information, and Abdul Aziz Al Mahmoud whom Waddah Khanfar previously ousted from heading the official website Aljazeera.net that covers both Al-Jazeera English and Arabic channels.
 
Mohamed Ghifari, a journalist and observer of media affairs, told Ikhwanweb:" What is striking about the new board of directors is that they do not have any sufficient experience to run a network like Al-Jazeera. Even journalists like Mahmoud Shamama has a fully US agenda without any concessions. They are journalists whose talent is restricted knowing how to write!!. As for Mariam Rashed, she is an unknown journalist. Other members have a full US agenda like Al- Kuwary , Qatar ’s ex-ambassador to Washington , or those who know nothing about the media !!
 
What raises eyebrows is that these huge changes took place only after Ibrahim Hilal, the ex-editor-in-chief of Al-Jazeera Arabic, moved to Al-Jazeera English as he is currently supervising programs, news and a deputy editor-in-chief the Middle East affairs in the channel that raised controversies since its was first launched month ago, along with moving Omar Al Bik, the head of the coordination unit official is in the Al-Jazeera Arabic and Hassan Ibrahim, a senior news producer to the English Al-Jazeera, and Omar Al Isawi the world’s biggest producer of a series of documentary films about the war in Lebanon (33-episode documentary) moved to produce news of Al-Jazeera English. All these persons ended the previous balance in the Arab channel as the current team supervising news and programs in the channel is currently a wholly Palestinian team !!
 
Al-Ghifari says, commenting on this: Nowadays’ Al-Jazeera isn’t Al-Jazeerawhen it was first established. The real Al-Jazeera is Al-Jazeera English with Ibrahim Hilal’s team and his friends, while the Arab channel is continuously deteriorating since Ahmed Al-Sheikh became editor-en-chief .
 
Jordanian Nasseristl-leaning Al-Majd newspaper said: A security envoy- sent by Abbas- visited the Emir of Qatar and handed him over two files, while several Qatari newspapers were launching a fierce attack against Waddah Khanfar, accusing him of excluding Qataris from administrative jobs in the channel
 
The newspaper added that, according to its source, the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was protecting Khanfar and supporting him to remain in his post. However, the continuous pressures on the Emir because of Khanfar’s ideological affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood group and organizationally to the Hamas movement, made him ask his son and crown prince to form a new board of directors while Waddah was outside Qatar , and its term was changed from one to three years
 
Editors Weblog said that its noticed changes in the editorial policy of the channel in the last period. There has been a relative bias towards Fatah. Fatah figures have been hosted and were given time to permanently criticize Hamas. Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera didn’t give the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a Hamas leader, Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri and Hamas politburo member Mohamed Nazzal, the opportunity to appear on the channel because they are well known for their criticism to Fatah leaders.
 
Hafez Al Mirazi, Al-Jazeera Arabic office manager in Washington , told the London-based Al-Hayah newspaper that he said while marking the tenth anniversary of Al-Jazeera:" the Qatari Al-Jazeera’s experience is a great one but there is no guarantee that it will live forever. And he added: What will happen if the political leadership in Qatar changed and the new leadership decided to cancel freedoms allowed in the channel. This will lead us the  problem that we can’t give a free media in a fettered world !!.
 
Hafez Al Mirazi quit Washington office, resigned and established a channel called Al-Haya (life) which is expected to give a strong media in Egypt as it will be concerned with Egyptian internal affair. He said:" They informed me that I will return one day to Al-Jazeera". However, but he said that he is wholly concerned with the trial in Egypt .
 
Abbas Nasser, on of the most prominent correspondents in Al Jazeera during the last Lebanese war, moved to the BBC after the latest changes in the board of directors and the editorial policy. Abbas is a Sunni Muslim from Lebanon !!
 
Ghassan bin Jiddo, a Muslim Brotherhood –leaning journalist and manager of Al-Jazeera Arabic office in Lebanon, told the Lebanese Al Safir newspaper that he told Hamad Bin Thamer, the head of Al-Jazeera network board of director, that he would like to return to the press, and he added: I informed Waddah about this as well and he told me he wants also to return to be a journalist or even a businessman this is because doing executive tasks is full of evil!! (Waddah studed media, philosophy and business administration).
 
The control of liberal and pro-US figures over the most effective channel in the Middle East puts the credibility and neutrality of the channel at the stakes .
We still expect a reaction from the Arab peoples to whom Aljazeera was so close to the extent that it became people’s channel, we expect people to intervene to return Al-Jazeera back to the track.
 
What do tyrannical Arab regimes write about journalists who belong to the movement of freedom and resistance? !! Will Al-Jazeera’s agenda in the Middle East change in the coming months because of a security file from a Palestinian intelligence system and a Jordanian spy system that handed over the Palestinian cause to The United States and Israel ?
 
Till we see a tangible superiority from Al-Jazeera English to which were moved the founders of Al-Jazeera Arabic, and then we see them ousted again because they disturbed the US administration or even Fatah Movement to be stunned by a US-dominate Middle East in terms of rule and media!! We wish Waddah Khanfar the best luck in his next career after forming policies of a currently fettered channel!! We wish you this, but what about you, what do you wish?
 

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