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A breath of fresh air

Reader comment on item: Al-Jazeera in Al-Canada?
in response to reader comment: ALJAZEERA IN CANADA A BAD DAY FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

Submitted by Joseph Robertson (Canada), Apr 10, 2010 at 11:58

It is refreshing that Al-Jazeera has been granted permission to broadcast in Canada. I happened to watch this channel during my many travels overseas and have begun to prefer it to the BBC. They provide solid coverage of global events and go to great lengths to get both sides of the story - including the side that many of us in the West do not get to hear through our news channels - the Islamist (not to be mistaken with the Islamic) perspective. At a time when we (Canadians) and our friends across the border in the US have sent our men and women into harms way, then it is only fitting that we get to hear that side too, particularly when it affects our foreign policy. If Bin Laden (yes, the terrorist - and yes, he IS a terrorist) issues a statement,

I, as a Canadian, would like to hear what he has to say and not have it blocked out by our regular news channels. For years, I have been distressed by the superficial and shallow ways in which our leaders explain the reasons for Islamist hatred towards us. For Bush, it was a clear case of "it's because they hate our freedoms". Al Qaeda's journalists (many of whom, by the way, are well-known and highly respected journalists who made their careers at the BBC and other such organizations) have access to an unparalleled number of sources in the Middle East. Through their coverage (which they don't necessarily endorse), they show that much of the hatred Islamists have for us has little to do with hating our freedoms, and a lot to do with the long history of Western interventions in the Middle East. Also, if anyone here had access to Al Jazeera at the time of the horrific events of 9/11, they would have known that Bin Laden's worldview was shaped by his wanting to re-create the Ottoman Empire. Silly, I know. But I didn't hear these views covered by any our our Western news channels. Al Jazeera did. And I would've loved to have heard more because rhetoric like "because they hate our freedoms" (which got top coverage by our own media) just doesn't capture the complexities of the conflict/s.

Al-Jazeera's entry into our broadcast market fills this void of having to receive one-sided (and often superficial) political rhetoric. We will have access to the views of people with whom we may fundamentally disagree with. But that is the role of any good news channel - to report on all aspects of the story. Whether we agree with the opinions of those whose voices may be heard through Al Jazeera is upto us. They should report. We will decide. And judging by what I have seen of Al Jazeera so far, I am impressed.

A note to D. Neils: Yes, I have travelled through many countries of the Middle East. And no, I am not an Islamist nut job. In fact, I strongly support the right of Israel to exist as a state, am critical of Islamist militancy, of the US's uncompromising support for Israel, and the superficial ways in which the complexities of the conflicts in the Middle East conflict/s have been mediatized by our Western news channels.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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