Before the start of the Arab Uprising, the Arab TV news channels seemed to be flourishing and gaining credibility. They began providing daily coverage of the revolutions. From Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, people expected TV stations to embrace their dreams and defend their causes, but it seems that major networks decided to adopt some revolutions and dump others, following their own agenda.
Meanwhile, mainstream Arab channels gave the Syrian revolution a large portion of airtime, but things took a different path when they started interfering with the coverage. The result of this type of coverage was the resignation of Ghassan Bin Jeddo that announced his resignation from the post of director of al-Jazeera’s office in Beirut writing: “The Chanel ended a dream of objectivity and professionalism after al-Jazeera stopped being a media source and became an operations room for incitement and mobilization.”
The latest in this row was Melhem Ria, al-Jazeera channel’s chief bureau in Tehran. Moqawama.org had an exclusive interview with him to hear his reasons.
What was the main reason for your resignation?
Indeed, the main reasons of my resignation could be summarized in a few points:
al-Jazeera bias over the Resistance Axis,
failure to meet objectivity in news coverage,
focusing on some controversial subject while the region is in a sensitive and critical situation,
Non-observance of professional Code of Ethics for in the editorial line about some countries, including Syria and Bahrain.
These issues were to an extent that were against my political and intellectual tendency and made me resign.
What were your problems in the last months?
My work was in Tehran and we were sending news to the channel about Iran. We hadn’t any close connection with the Bahrain and Syria news that is being broadcast by al-Jazeera. We were outside what was happening but we were a part of the channel.
I myself, as a Lebanese, support strongly the resistance and felt that it’s a duty to announce my political orientation. Especially that we see now the alignments are becoming clearer in the political scene. So any people involved in media should define thier orientation and to what wing they belong. Based on this, I declared my stance by resigning from my post.
I should repeat that I hadn’t any special problem about my activities in Iran and it was related to oppose al-Jazeera’s policies.
What were your main oppositions?
As I told you, violation of professional Code of Ethics, politicization and following some policies in news coverage that are in the interest of US and the Zionist Regime, and this was one of my main protests.
There is a policy here that wants to root out the Resistance Axis of the region. This conspiracy started with strong pressure to overthrow the regime in Damascus and will continue by trying to impose blockade on Hizbullah and Iran.Their aim is to divide the region into smaller countries based on racial, religious and ethnic differences. The plan ultimately serves to provide security of “Israel”.
What’s the significance of such resignations at al-Jazeera? These resignations that we hear from time to time show definitely that they don’t take into account professionalism. They’re also falling into a spiral of politicization and subordination to the political projects that are in the interest of the United States and “Israel” in the first place and are harmful for the public interests of the people of the region.
What’s your evaluation of the performance of the channel in the recent Arab developments?
There is a double standard in covering the Arab developments on the screen of al-Jazeera where only a part of the opinions is broadcast and opposite opinions are denied access.
al-Jazeera policy wants to root out the Resistance Axis of the region.
This is contrary to the slogan and approach claimed by the channel.
Has this had any effect on the popularity of the channel?
It’s obvious that al-Jazeera has lost popularity comparing to last year.
A recent poll shows a 13 million loss of viewers, stressing that this decline is due to wrong policies and editorial line of the channel that is against the will of the people in Arab streets. The people are eager to be free from US dependency and Global arrogance.
Would You like to add something at the end of the interview?
I wish there were a great awareness by the media Muslims about what is being plotted for the Muslim World by Zionists. I also pray to the Almighty God that there will be serious attempts to thwart these plans, which aim to fortify the Zionist entity and fragment the region, also create ethnic and sectarian feuding among us. Their aim is to guaranty stability and security for the usurping entity [Zionist regime] as they believe that it can’t be reached as long as the Muslim Worlds is unified and coherent.