Al Jazeera caught in the Qatar crisis crossfire, reports Mediawatch

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Al Jazeera's newsroom in Doha ... independent news sympathetic to Arab Spring. Image: Middle East Monitor

Pacific Media Watch News Desk

So-called “fake news” and the damage it can do has featured much in the media in recent months.

Radio NZ’s Mediawatch looks at how one false story sparked a row between Qatar and its neighbours, which has now cast a shadow over the future of the pioneering international TV news channel Al Jazeera.

Author Tarek Cherkaoui … insights into Al Jazeera. Image: RNZ Mediawatch

Mediawatch’s Jeremy Rose interviews Dr Tarek Cherkaoui, holder of an Auckland University of Technology doctorate and author of The News Media at War, on how the clash between Western and Arab media perspectives has contributed to global polarisation.

Al Jazeera English has reflected a sympathetic view of the Arab Spring upheaval and Al Jazeera Arabic has been challenging for authoritarian regimes in the region.

Russian ‘freelance’ hackers
An inquiry last week by the FBI found that Russian “freelance” hackers were responsible of the fake news broadcast on the state-run Qatar News Agency, sparking the biggest crisis in decades crisis among the Gulf States.

A Guardian report said: “Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have commissioned the hackers.”

-Partners-

Earlier this month, after the fake news report, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain launched an unprecedented campaign to isolate Qatar diplomatically and economically with a transport blockade over alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iran. Qatar has rejected the allegations as “without foundation”.

Al Jazeera employs a number of New Zealand journalists and is the only global news channel broadcast on the free-to-air platform Freeview in New Zealand.

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