Al-Jazeera as a tool for Qatari foreign policy?
Essay from the year 2012 in the subject Communications - Media and Politics, Politic Communications, grade: 7.5 out of 10, Maastricht University (European Studies), language: English, abstract: Since its first appearance, the Arabic network of Al-Jazeera has been the target of many different critics. Some say, the channel supports terrorism; others praise it as the first free and independent Arab media. Al-Jazeera has been funded by Qatar since its beginning and it is now led by a member of the Qatari royal family; the question which then arises is whether Al-Jazeera is as independent as it claims. This paper analyses the relationship between Qatar and Al-Jazeera. Therefore, firstly Qatar's foreign affairs and interests are presented, and then a comparative analysis of Al-Jazeera's coverage of the Arab spring follows. My thesis states that Al-Jazeera functions as an instrument for Qatari foreign policy or is at least heavily influenced by it and is consequently not able to present balanced reporting independently. Using the examples of Libya and Bahrain, this essay shows that the tendencies of Al-Jazeera's coverage match the respective tone of Qatar's foreign policy. Additionally, it looks more deeply at the replacement of Wadah Khanfar, ex-director of Al-Jazeera who has been replaced by a member of the Qatari royal family.
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