Al-Jazeera Changed Stories to Please Bush Administration
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Al-Jazeera news network, branded a critic of American foreign policy in the Middle East, modified its coverage of the Iraq war in order to appease concerns raised by the Bush administration, according to classified U.S. information published by WikiLeaks.
A State Department cable written on October 20, 2005, indicated that Al-Jazeera’s news director, Wadah Khanfar, had communicated numerous times with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in response to American complaints of negative coverage. Khanfar agreed to tone down the content for certain stories, such as removing photos on its web site of two Iraqi children in hospital beds and a woman with a serious facial injury, who were injured during the conflict. According to the cable, “Khanfar appeared to repress a sigh but said he would have the piece removed. ‘Not immediately, because that would be talked about, but over two or three days,’ he said.”
In the wake of the WikiLeaks revelation, the network announced Tuesday that Khanfar had resigned after eight years on the job.
Al-Jazeera has come under criticism recently for its allegedly unbalanced coverage of uprisings in the Arab world. Some say it has produced sensational coverage of the unrest in Syria while not reporting enough on the strife in Bahrain.
Bahrain is situated next to Qatar, whose royal family financed the launching of the network.
What Wikileaks Tells Us About Al Jazeera (by Omar Chatriwala, Foreign Policy)
After Disclosures by WikiLeaks, Al Jazeera Replaces Its Top News Director (by David Kirkpatrick, New York Times)
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