Al Jazeera reporter resigns over "biased" Syria coverage

Published Thursday, March 8, 2012

Al Jazeera Arabic's Beirut correspondent, Ali Hashem, resigned on Tuesday after leaked emails revealed his frustrations over the news channel's coverage of Syria, according to a source within the television network.

Hashem's resignation comes weeks after pro-Assad hackers leaked emails that revealed the dismay among Al Jazeera's staff over its “biased and unprofessional” coverage of the Syrian uprising.

“Hashem's misgivings are clear and well-known, and are no longer a secret to anyone," the source, wishing to remain anonymous, said.

"You can check the emails he sent to his colleague, Rula Ibrahim, to know his position which changed after the station refused to show photos he had taken of armed fighters clashing with the Syrian Army in Wadi Khaled. Instead [Al Jazeera] lambasted him as a shabeeh (implying a regime loyalist).”

The source also said that Hashem reported his dismay to several officials in the station, not just to his colleague, Ibrahim.

Complicating matters for Hashem was Al Jazeera's refusal to cover the uprising in Bahrain.

“[In Bahrain], we were seeing pictures of a people being butchered by the 'Gulf's oppression machine', and for Al Jazeera, silence was the name of the game,” the source added.

According to the source, Hashem was not the only Al Jazeera reporter to express his frustration over its coverage. Staff members in Al-Jazeera's offices in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Bahrain also voiced similar opinions.

The source explained that most reporters at Al Jazeera are professionals and come from prestigious schools of journalism where such biased coverage is unacceptable and particularly since several field reporters are “seeing the truth” themselves.

“There is a division among the staff members in the station. As for Hashem, he thought he could change one thing, but he couldn't so he chose to resign," the source said.

"This is what happens to the majority of people who oppose the station's provocative policy. They end up resigning.”

Al Jazeera is a Qatari owned and based satellite network, and has been the center of controversy throughout its short history.

It made US officials angry when it aired gruesome footage of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq last decade.

But Qatar's hardening foreign policy in the Middle East, in particular its efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad while supporting Bahrain's crackdown on dissent, has made inroads on Al Jazeera's coverage of Arab affairs.

(Al-Akhbar - Wissam Kanaan contributed to this report)

Comments

(Part2) . Shitte started a Sectarian war in the country while Aljazeera was & still blind to see that. Just reporting what they get from socalled activist who are from the same sect. I bet they bring any activist from other sect to talk about bahrain

After what happened in bahrain & what saw in news I really lost my faith in news channels like aljazeera. As every body know bahrain is really a small country every body is aware of what's happening around I have witnessed a lot of thing by my self crimes done by ppl who must be called as terrorist but called pro-democracy protesters.
What's left civilians were killed by anti gov terrorist , students were attacked , hospital SMC hijacted

No comment rather than Almighty God should destroy Qatar leader and Al saudi rulling family and spare those stands on the path of truth among them. Also to God to continue to empower the Islamic republic of iran, to save us from arrogant power.

Al Jazeera is owned by Qatar!

What do people expect? Qatar is CIA head quarters in the Middle East. Their government is a puppet regime run by MI6!

Good riddance to another hypocritical Shi'ite sectarian

“[In Bahrain], we were seeing pictures of a people being butchered by the 'Gulf's oppression machine', and for Al Jazeera, silence was the name of the game.”

What about the Al Jazeera English documentary on Bahrain that aired in the summer titled "Bahrain : Shouthing in the Dark" ? It won an award recently. Articles like this make me think that coverage like that never happened.

i believe aljazeera international (ENG version) reflect the situation in syria and bahrain and ... disproportionately and it does not mean that it doesn't show any of Al Khalifa oppression but its focus is mainly on syria.

about Aljazeera (Arabic version) the situation is worse. all in all i believe that Aljazeera could'nt maintain its impartiality in the recent uprisings and we can assume that Qatar dictators concentrated all its efforts and money on media and soft power to keep its dictatorship and its dictator friends in the region like Saudi arabia.

I WONDERED at the coverage of Syria and the lack of coverage of Bahrain. Now I know why I watch MOSAIC (LINKTV) for a more thorough representation of what's going on. The TWITTER has some good reporters on it, too.

This is sad. And so telling of the mess in the Arab world.

We here in America try to pay attention and care deeply about what's happening over there, but if it isn't religion making things worse, it's the regimes.

What's a person to do?

@hobo: biased coverage and no coverage at all are two different things and both were the subject of this article.
If due to bias by AJE he was not even allowed to cover his opinion in an editorial and neither speakering or writing for another media, e.g., due to his contract, then I can't think of any better choice for journalist than resigning. Usually, however, there should have been some ways for him to critisize the network and at least letting them fire him rather than quitting voluntarily.

It is important that Qatar owns AJE. Just look at Murdoch and his empire. Fox News is a joke as to reporting news. Lies kill more people than guns.

He should not have resigned.
His opinions could have been public here as well as anywhere else.
It is democratic in his field to have opinions.
It is expected to have them.
I do not agree necessarily or disagree as such.
But he was better to have stayed.
If AJE is not biased, then that would be shown by its willingness to confront him by editorial, hopefully signed.
The fact that AJE is qatari means nothing as this situation of internal disagreement in a news organisation is universal when allowed to happen.
If he thinks the bias is great enough he will stay in the spotlight and allow argument against him.

I have seen many tear down the advances in one place because another place seems left behind.

I would say to him it is like a man with many cancers.
Always attack the biggest danger first.

However I wish him well and know he deserves it.

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