Will Al-Jazeera cover this outrageous story?

6:49 pm - December 1st 2012

by Robert Sharp    

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Meanwhile, in Qatar, this free speech outrage:

A Qatari poet has been sentenced to life in prison for inciting the overthrow of the government of Qatar and insulting the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and his son, the crown prince, reports say.

The verdict is likely to prove an embarrassment for Qatar which has worked hard to cultivate a progressive, modern image, and is currently playing host to a major international climate change conference.

The charges relate to a poem that 37-year-old Mohammed al-Ajami, a father of four, recited in 2010 before a small, private audience in his flat in Egypt. One audience member subsequently posted the poem online.

Al-Jazeera (a channel that yrstrly appeared on earlier this year) is funded by the same Emir Sheikh Hamad and has not yet covered the story, which is a glaring omission that undermines its otherwise growing reputation.

I think Al-Jazeera English (based in London) should take a leaf out of the BBC handbook, and start scrutinising this journalistic omission on the part of its head office in Doha. That would be very much in the spirit of the current media moment.

Update: It has now

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Reader comments

The dictator is a friend of David Cameron’s I think.

I seem to recall that the UK sells him arms, so that he can put his people down.

Same as it always is.

But, but but …….. call me Dave is for freedom don’t you know? I know this because he told me thursday.

Sally @ 2

David Cameron has been a liar and hypocrite since before, during and after the 2010 general election on almost all matters. He (Cameron) is NOW starting to look Deliriously Deluded to a vast majority of this country.

It is my personal opinion that Cameron is now looking very pathetic and hopefully he and his band of deliriously deluded Tories will not be able to fool the electorate yet again.

As my Hindu colleague and friend foretold in those lunchtime conversations we used to have back in the early 1970s, Islamic countries will find hard to make the transitions to pluralism and democracy. His insight then has proved to be prescient.

5. Barney Thomson

The snowploughs will be out in Hell before the BBC corrects the omissions it is guilty of.

“The snowploughs will be out in Hell before the BBC corrects the omissions it is guilty of.”

The BBC goes better. When a journalist, Andrew Gilligan, in an interview suggested the government had made exaggerated claims in a dossier presented to Parliament about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – which the government had as no such weapons were found in Iraq after the invasion on 20 March 2003 – not only was the journalist forced to resign but Greg Dyke, the BBC’s director general went as well and the chairman of the BBC Trust, Gavyn Davies, resigned too.

The BBC duly filed this news report about about what Tony Blair said at the G8 summit in Evian in June 2003:

Tony Blair has rejected calls for an official inquiry into the government’s claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking at the G8 summit in Evian, Mr Blair said he stood “100%” by the evidence shown to the public about Iraq’s alleged weapons programmes.

“Frankly, the idea that we doctored intelligence reports in order to invent some notion about a 45-minute capability for delivering weapons of mass destruction is completely and totally false,” he said.

We now know beyond doubt who was lying about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

@1, 2 & 3

So a man is imprisoned in Qatar and somehow it’s all David Cameron’s fault, is there anything that happens anywhere in the world that isn’t ?

8. So Much for Subtlety

Come on. This sort of article makes LC look like a parody of itself. What is the point here: 1. Al-Jazeera is not the BBC and 2. David Cameron is to blame?

1. Well no sh!t. Who thought it was? Of course the lying press of the Third World is going to continue to be the lying press of the Third World. Of course cultures that have a problem with honour and public shame are not going to have a vibrant newspaper culture. Who thought otherwise?

2. Really? This is the claim you’re going to make?

To answer the headline – no it won’t. News agencies know who their backers are and thus know whom to ignore in their reporting. You can trust agencies like Russia Today and Al-Jazeera to report the truth of things happening here, since reporting the truth of UK happenings undermines our own agencies spinning, which in turn advances RT and AJ’s backers interests, and visa versa.


Al-Jazeera has right from the start been the darling of the BBC-watching and Guardian and Indie-reading left. It’s been regularly cited here on Liberal Conspiracy, uncritically or even approvingly, for years.

It seems undeniable that Al Jazeera marks a considerable improvement in extensive and semi-independent Arab news coverage; but also that it has been over-idealised, and its biases, omissions etc conveniently ignored by the above constituency. It’s broadly anti-American and anti-Israel message has gone down a treat.

To now start complaining about its bias, and to somehow try and tag Cameron with this, is not credible. As a CiF-er and LibCon contributor, Al Jazeera is far more your kind of station than it is Cameron and co’s.

This article has sort of backfired, hasn’t it?

I look forward to Robert’s ‘even though I was wrong, I was still right’ rationalisation.

This is ALL David Cameron’s fault – except the bit that’s the fault of the BBC.

Oh, and a Boris Johnson, it’s his fault too. And possibly the Zionists. And the Neocons. And the Lizard People.

It’s nothing at all to do with Qatar or Al-Jazeerer.

be in no doubt,the arab spring has turned into the arab winter of mayhem and violence against the minoritys in these islamic sharia dominated states and the religious thought police.they wanted democrisy and freedom for all,what did they get,hell,i bet there wishing now bring back are dictators,we was better off when they was in power.

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jason Brickley

    Will Al-Jazeera cover this outrageous story? http://t.co/oLI0NAnJ

  2. Huw Jordan

    RT@libcon Will Al-Jazeera cover this outrageous story? http://t.co/faiKX1xS < For all those who say Al-Jazeera is more balanced than the BBC

  3. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Will Al-Jazeera cover this outrageous story? http://t.co/BRPqFd9v

  4. Arun Mehta

    Robert Sharp: "Will @AJEnglish cover this outrageous story?" http://t.co/PQ9pFMFA via @libcon

  5. Richard

    Will Al-Jazeera cover this outrageous story? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/T9XeikRM via @libcon

  6. andrew

    Will Al-Jazeera cover this outrageous story? | Liberal Conspiracy: Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy … http://t.co/ZT3xLems

  7. ShoSho {Not Happy }

    Will some1 translet his poem so the world know why they should care about his freedom ? http://t.co/1XaEZ7Vl via @libcon

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