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Al-Jazeera : a broadcaster creating ripples in a stagnant pool

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journal contribution
posted on 2004-07-01, 00:00 authored by Stephen Quinn, T Walters
Al-Jazeera is unique in the Arab world. In an environment of state-controlled or stale media, this Arab-language news channel sees itself as a source of fresh water in a parched region bereft of freedom of expression. It broadcasts controversial subjects and, in doing so, has attracted an audience of 35 million households - and plenty of criticism. Most notable controversies have been the airing of tapes of Osama bin Laden. and the broadcasting of images of captured Coalition soldiers and bloodied corpses during the Iraq war. Before those events, Al-Jazeera had criticised Arab heads of state, blatantly ignoring the Arab States Broadcasting Union's code of honour. Some companies have avoided the channel because advertising in the Middle East is based on political, not commercial, interests. Yet along the way, AI-Jazeera has put Qatar. a tiny Gulf nation of perhaps 600,000 people, on the world map. Based on the last-known interviews before the station went on a war footing, this paper looks at why and how AI-Jazeera does what it does. Among the things covered are how the station defines freedom of expression through its own eyes. the role that the station and its employees believe they are serving in the marketplace. and why they do what they do. The paper also considers the station s role in the war in Iraq in March and April of 2003.

History

Journal

Australian journalism review

Volume

25

Pagination

53 - 69

Location

St Lucia, Qld.

Open access

  • Yes

ISSN

0810-2686

Language

eng

Notes

Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2003, Journalism Education Association

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