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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"Is it civilised to kill hundreds of thousands of people to civilise them, but uncivilised to show some of those dead?"

"Double Standards in the Media World," Maher Abdallah, head of International Affairs, Al-Jazeera TV, Qatar: There is a double standard at work in international criticism of Al-Jazeera, said Mr. Abdallah at the 11th World Editors Forum today. He mounted a spirited defense of his station's position and performance. It is accused of being biased, of being close to terrorists and Saddam, of showing too much blood. "Yes, we have been showing a lot of blood, there is no denying it," he said, asking: "Is it civilised to kill hundreds of thousands of people to civilise them, but uncivilised to show some of those dead? Will someone explain this to me? How can you kill hundreds of thousands to civilise them, and you don't even bother to count the dead? Yet, you expect me to follow suit? When Al Jazeera shows a couple of pictures of dead and mutilated bodies, suddenly we are uncivilised."

Western media, notably the New York Times, have acknowledged they were misled about the reasons for going to war in Iraq and are now more critical of US policy than they were at the start of the war. But when Al-Jazeera criticises the war, it is accused of being biased or worse, said Mr. Abdallah.

"When we say it, we are instigating. When CBS does it, or the Washington Post, nobody talks about treason. What we've been doing is showing the same thing, though exclusively Al-Jazeera."

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 2, 2004 at 04:21 PM in g. Photojournalism, o. Ethics and Press Freedom, s. 2004 Forum in Istanbul | Permalink

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