How its equipment landed on a Cairo sweet potato cart, and more Al Jazeera in the news.

Posted: 21 Dec 2011   Print   Send a link
AP, 17 Dec 2011, Maggie Michael and Sarah el Deeb: "Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers swept into Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday, chasing protesters and beating them to the ground with sticks and tossing journalists' TV cameras off of balconies in the second day of a violent crackdown on antimilitary protesters that has left nine dead and hundreds injured. ... In one case, plainclothes officers charged up the stairs of a hotel from which Al-Jazeera TV was filming the turmoil below and demanded a female hotel worker tell them where the media crew was or else they would beat her up, a member of the Al-Jazeera crew said. ... The soldiers threw the Al-Jazeera crew's equipment from the balcony, including cameras, batteries and lighting equipment to the streets, landing on a sweet potato cart whose stove started a fire."

Montreal Gazette, 17 Dec 2011, Laila Al-Arian, writer/producer for Al Jazeera English in Washington, DC: "Like many of my Al Jazeera colleagues, I was hunted by the [Egyptian] police who conducted sweeps of hotels to detain and silence journalists. The Egyptian government shut down the Internet, detained our reporters, took away their accreditation, and killed journalists like Ahmed Mahmoud, who wrote for Egypt's Al Ahram newspaper, simply because he recorded video of a protest on his mobile phone."

Bikya Masr, 11 Dec 2011, Manar Ammar: "An Egyptian man filed a lawsuit in Cairo against ON TV, a privately owned television channel, and few of its hosts as well as al-Jazeera, demanding that the two channels stop their transmission over allegations that they are 'inciting people against each other' and 'hurting the relationship between the people and the police,' arguing that the channels are spreading chaos."

Ha'aretz, 16 Dec 2011, Akiva Eldar: Al Jazeera English managing dierctor Al Anstey "swears he has never received directives from local authorities regarding what he should or should not broadcast. As far as he knows, all of the 1,000 employees, operating out of 43 countries and 70 bureaus around the globe, enjoy absolute journalistic freedom. Al Jazeera correspondents and news editors who asked to speak anonymously offered more complicated accounts about the network's connection to the Arab uprisings. 'It is true that the chief news editor does not tell correspondents in Egypt, Tunis or Libya how to cover events,' explains a veteran network reporter. 'But everyone lives in these areas; the correspondents have relatives demonstrating or friends imprisoned or killed. All are educated, enlightened people who are tired of the dictatorships that oppressed their brethren for years.' Another correspondent adds, 'I have never faced pressure or external censorship. The problem is internal censorship.' He recalls an incident when a producer cut off a talk-show caller who was criticizing a minister close to Qatar's ruler; the producer told the correspondent to call it a technical problem. ... Nobody knows when and how the uprisings will end. In Doha, commentators fear the uprisings could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory; associates of Al Jazeera point out that liberal-democratic regimes have their own independent news outlets, whereas radical-theocratic regimes will at some point kick Al Jazeera out."

Financial Times, 16 Dec 2011, Camilla Hall: "Operating in the Middle East, a region known for its government control over the media, Al Jazeera has managed to break the age-old model of censorship, often using local journalists to get closer to the story. How it manages its relationship with the government at a time of increased scrutiny will determine whether it will be perceived as an independent media operator on the global stage."

Poynter, 21 Dec 2011, Jeff Sonderman: "Al Jazeera English has won its first Alfred I. duPont award for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism, one of 14 the Columbia School of Journalism announced this morning, a marker of the Qatar-based news network’s expansion into the United States. The duPont award recognized excellent reporting by 'Fault Lines,' AJE’s weekly documentary program that primarily examines the United States’ role in the world; the winning program highlighted the struggles and slow recovery in Haiti six months after the earthquake."