Sunday, 13 January 2013

Al Jazeera failing one of its own

For the past 15 months Qatari authorities have detained the veteran journalist and former Al Jazeera Children Channel General Manager (sometimes referred to as the channel's "Director") Mahmoud Bunab without charges and without reporting it in the local media, including his former employer Al Jazeera Network. The Tunisian Journalists Syndicate says it has sent letters to the Qatari ambassador in Tunis as well as the Presidential Office to follow up on Mr Bunab's case. The Syndicate states that the Qatari Prosecutor General has informed them that the financial audit carried out on Al Jazeera Children's Channel did not show any financial criminal offences.

Last week the Arab Journalists Union meeting in Baghdad called on the Qatari authorities to "immediately release" the Tunisian journalist. Needless to say this has not been reported in the Qatari press which has previously ignored the sentencing of Qatari poet Muhammad al-Ajami, 36 to life for a poem in late November 2012. Al Jazeera English (not the Arabic channel) covered the case 48 hours later after a barrage of online criticism. I was informed by sources inside the channel that the good journalists there put up a fight with the channel's administration over the issue and finally were able to report on the appeal. (the same method of only reporting appeals and denials is employed in the UAE and other Gulf States, just Google "UAE denies" for fun).

The last mention of the Mr Bunab in official Qatari media was in August 2011 shortly before he was detained.

Photo from Qatar Tribune (PDF) dated May 30th 2011

Over the past two years Al Jazeera has developed a reputation as a "mouthpiece" of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood according to Alain Gresh, editor of Le Monde diplomatique and specialist on the Middle East.

Although Al Jazeera has let down its viewers before by propagating for the Muslim Brotherhood this time however it has let down one of its very own. This is another chapter that testifies to Al Jazeera Arabic's haemorrhaging of credibility. Perhaps if he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Al Jazeera would have paid attention to him. 


1- to the plagiariser from Al Arabiya (you know who you are) if you copy/paste this blog and make it to look like it's your own work I will sue you.

2- the Arab Journalists Union also called on the UAE authorities to "immediately release" Egyptian journalist Ahmed Labib Jafar.


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