27 November 2009

Welcome, Al Jazeera (with reservations)

In my morning tour of news sites on the web, Al Jazeera English (AJE) is always on my list. If you're looking for a more Third World perspective on the news, AJE is the place to go. Now the CTRC has given it permission for digital satellite broadcasting in Canada.

Qatar-based AJE offers a 24-hour news service in over 100 countries. Its coverage has at times offered not only a different perspective but a unique perspective. For example, following the 9/11 attacks, it was the only channel to cover the war on Afghanistan live from its office there. During the Israeli invasion of Gaza, it had six reporters in the territory when the Western media had none.

I do have a reservation or two about AJE joining the Canadian broadcasting world. The network has, and I find this particularly galling, agreed to work with the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith Canada on concerns they may have about its content. This kind of self-censorship by the media is offensive. And then of course we will be receiving Al Jazeera English, a toned-down version of the original, Al Jazeera Arabic. Still, it's another voice, a more Third Worldly voice, a much-needed voice in a media world immersed in conservative, Western perspectives.

No comments:

Post a Comment