Al Jazeera

One of the recent developments in journalism has been the rise of the Qatar based Al Jazeera network. When I heard  a few year ago that they were begining an English language version to compete with the likes of CNN I was most pleased. One of the things I really like is watching some of the English language versions of international news casts (the German DW TV being the prime example) simply for the fact that they present a non anglo-american view both of international issues, and local stories you would not otherwise see, and this kind of diversity I think is a vital component of the kind of tolerantly multicultural planet we need to become in the long run.

The reason Al Jazeera fills such an important niche is that western news organisations almost totally fail to tell the tales of all the Muslims in the middle east and elsewhere who live normal, moral, religiously faithful but tolerant, and otherwise worthwhile lives. They’re good at covering oppressed Iranians and palestinians, and fanatical afghans and so forth, but neglect the fact that these all represent the minority, like neo-Nazis in europe and Gangster rappers in the US (if you believed the popular media you’d believe they were everywhere).

The most recent cool thing regarding Al Jazeera I’ve seen was during the early days of the Mumbai terror attacks, and the Australian news channels kept crossing to get live updates from the Al Jazeera correspondent who must have been one of the first foreign journalists on site, and happened to be a blond english sounding woman, who did nothing but add credibility to the notion of her network rapidly becoming a respectible player in the world of international news.