There are a number of misperceptions and myths that exist about Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English in North America, that fortunately are not evident in the rest of the world. We would like to address some of these misperceptions head on, and encourage you to watch the channel for yourself to judge,
via livestation.com/aje or youtube.com/Aljazeeraenglish
Myth: Al Jazeera Supports Terrorism
No, this is absolutely not true. Al Jazeera Arabic, like many other broadcasters, has received Osama Bin Laden tapes and material from other sources that are of interest to the general public. Al Jazeera makes an editorial judgment to air small amounts of newsworthy content if it is deemed relevant. We are certainly not alone in this decision – just about all the other major broadcasters do the same. People often neglect to mention that AJ wasn’t the first network to broadcast a tape from Bin Laden, and one of the last tapes that were released online was first picked up by another outlet. What is true is that Al Jazeera has given more airtime to American leaders than has ever been given to Osama Bin Laden.
Myth: Al Jazeera is Anti-Semitic
Since January 2007, AJE has been available on YES TV in Israel. The decision was made to remove BBC and replace it with AJE because AJE was thought to be unbiased and balanced. We have given more air time to Israeli officials than any other news channel outside of Israel. AJE is a channel that reports all sides of the story. Our Jerusalem bureau is our largest bureau, and our coverage of Israel is extensive. But you don’t need to hear this from us – The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz have both written pieces on our unbiased reporting in which they describe Al Jazeera English as an important, international news organization.
Myth: Al Jazeera is Anti-American
Absolutely not. Al Jazeera is committed to providing an international platform for American voices, often reaching places where the American perspective is rarely heard. Our news coverage and programming coming from the US is extensive, and over the last months we shared the US political process with the world, devoting countless hours to speaking to Americans and telling their stories. Guests on the channel have included Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, as well as General David Petraeus, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Michael Chertoff.
Myth: Al Jazeera Shows Beheadings
This is a complete inaccuracy. Al Jazeera has never and will never broadcast a beheading. Our journalism upholds the strictest guiding principles of accuracy, impartiality and objectivity. For more information on our standards you can read our Code of Ethics.
Myth: Al Jazeera English is a Translation of the Arabic Channel
Al Jazeera English is unlike any other channel in the word. We are truly concerned with reporting international affairs, not just news that is governed by the West. We are a separate channel from Al Jazeera Arabic and we offer a different perspective. However, we are proud to build on the Arabic channel’s heritage of fearless reporting.
Myth: Al Jazeera has a Specific Agenda
Al Jazeera has no commercial or political constraints, which automatically gives us less bias than any other English channel. It is true to say that Al Jazeera has a unique point of view, that we continuously question the news agenda and that we offer an alternative perspective to other Western-based outlets. Unlike other English language news networks, at AJE we balance the information flow from the geographical South to the North and provide our viewers an opportunity to hear all sides of the story and have their own point of view.