Tag Archives: Al Jazeera

Investigating the investigative reporters: Bad news from Down Under

Australian federal police entering the Australian Broadcast Company headquarters on June 5, 2019. A.B.C. screenshot from videotape

Michael J. Socolow, University of Maine

Sometimes the best journalism tells us the worst news.

The United States has a tradition of learning troubling news through extraordinary reporting efforts from combat zones. During the Vietnam War, award-winning journalism revealed the slaughter of Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers at My Lai. More recently, reports describing the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq embarrassed the U.S. government.

Such investigative reporting ultimately helped American citizens hold accountable those charged with acting in their name. But that didn’t mean the news was welcome, or even appreciated, at the time. Continue reading

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Shutting Down Free Speech in America: Government and Lobbyists Work Together to Destroy the First Amendment

By Philip Giraldi. Published 9-24-2018 by American Herald Tribune

During the past several years, there has been increased pressure coming from some in the federal government aided and abetted powerful advocacy groups in the private sector to police social and alternative media. It is a multi-pronged attack on the First Amendment which has already limited the types of information that Americans have access to, thereby narrowing policy options to suit those in power.

The process has been ostensibly driven by concerns over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, but it is really about who controls and limits the public’s right to know what is going on out of sight in Washington and New York City, where politics and money come together. If one is interested in the free flow of information and viewpoints that comes with the alternative media, it certainly does not look that way. Robert Parry described it as a deliberate process of “demonizing and silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.” Continue reading

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Silencing Truth

Ayman Mohyeldin. Photo By Abdo26 (Own work by Ayman) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ayman Mohyeldin. Photo By Abdo26 (Own work by Ayman) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On the afternoon of July 16, Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent specializing in covering the Gaza Strip crisis, spent some time on the on the way back to his hotel, where he kicked a ball around with a group of Palestinian boys, age 9 to 11, all from the same family. He then proceeded to his hotel and the boys left the sidestreet and proceeded to the beach across the street from the hotel. Moments later, he witnessed an Israeli gunboat approach the beach and launch an attack. Instinctively, the frightened boys ran, and were gunned down on the beach.  Four of them died.

We aren’t going to go into Israel’s insistence that they are specifically targeting only military targets. We want to mention that the media center was one of the first targets in Gaza City when the latest incursion began. But what we want to really focus on here is what happened with this correspondent following his recounting of the event he witnessed. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

Ayman Mohyeldin is an Egyptian-American who speaks Arabic, integral to successfully reporting on the Middle East. He is highly respected and known for his accuracy. He has covered dozens of major Middle East events in the last decade for CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera English.

NBC has silenced him. Strangely missing, with the only excuse given as “security concerns,” he has been instructed to leave Gaza immediately. Is NBC protecting him from the Israeli decision to launch a ground offensive? If that were so, why would they turn around and send in Richard Engel, with a less experienced cameraman who speaks no Arabic, to report from within Gaza?

CNN correspondent Diana Magnay was re-assigned to Moscow after she referred to a group of Israelis who cheered the bombing of Gaza on Thursday as “scum” after a group of them threatened to burn her vehicle if she reported something they disapproved of. The comment was delivered via her Twitter post, not on the air. It has since been removed.

Al Jazeera staff and journalists have been sentenced to 7 and 10 years in Egypt for their coverage of both sides of the story. We hear reports, when they can get published, of other journalists that are held hostage and others that are killed. It appears that journalism has become a very dangerous profession.

Not telling a story does not change truth. History has proven that truth always surfaces over time. Those who choose to attempt suppression of the truth wish not to live in an enlightened world, but rather in darkness and atrocity. When there is justification for actions, the human tendency is tell everyone of the accomplishment.

What are you afraid of? Will silencing the messenger change the truth?

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Pyramids or Prisons? Egypt’s Claim to Fame Goes Awry

By Muhamed ashraf (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Muhamed ashraf (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Arrested in December of 2013, three AlJazeera Journalist staff members were sentenced in Egyptian courts; guilty verdicts were announced by a judge on Monday against Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, both sentenced to seven years, and Baher Mohamed, sentenced to ten years. Other journalists were tried in absentia and sentenced to ten years.

This follows months of poor to appalling detention conditions. Appearing in court several times over months, the Egyptian court kept adjourning the proceedings whenever any defense argument was attempted. We recognized at that time that journalists the world over are threatened for doing their job in “World’s Most Endangered.”

Previously to this sentencing, the Egyptian courts sentenced mass groups of detainees to death sentences. We do not know how these sentences would be carried out, but the atrocious visions are enough to wake a mummy from the dead.

Which brings us to the focal point of why Egypt’s ability to remain as a viable, civilized country on the international stage must now be questioned. Since Carter first opened the tombs and presented the world with Egyptian antiquities, we have been fascinated.

The art world came alive with renditions of film, music and stage that would tell the stories. Universities offered courses; everything Egyptian became the rage. And we all starting flocking to Egypt to peer inside the great pyramid and gaze at the Sphinx.

So which is it, Egypt, that you wish the world to recognize you for? Your rich and majestic past gifted you from your ancestors, or the prisons you now hold detainees whose guilt must all be questioned, based on the unjust, void of facts and draconian sentences handed down to journalists and their staff. You can not have both – the world can not and will not accept that. Choose carefully, for the eternal life of your ancestral pharaohs relies on your observance of their religious beliefs and rituals, including guarding their eternal rest.

Occupy World Writes calls on the international community to shame Egypt for the sentencing of Al jazeera staff to jail terms. We ask for boycotts of tourism, Egyptian products, doing business with Egyptian linked companies, and the closure of any national museums displaying Egyptian antiquities until such displays can be closed and dismantled. If this can not be done, we call on individuals to boycott those displays. We further call on all governments allowing the detention of any journalist within their borders to immediately free those journalists and offer them a humble apology.

JOURNALISM IS NOT A CRIME.

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