Do the Arabic news agencies report the current happenings in Egypt in a fair and unbiased way?
On Monday morning during the Cairo news conference, one of the journalists stood up and demanded Al-Jazeera reporters to be banished from the event.
The call was supported by the crowd and the employees of the Doha-based channel were eventually forced to leave the conference room, accompanied by chants of “Out! Out!”
Al-Jazeera was founded by Qatar’s ruling family, which were strong supporters of deposed Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who were toppled by the country’s military on Wednesday.
Twenty-two reporters of Al Jazeera have now resigned for what they called biased coverage by their editors.
The staffers say the station’s reporting did not align with the actual events taking place as protesters for and against ousted President Mohammed Morsi have rallied in the streets, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have threatened revolt if Morsi is not reinstated.
Anchor Karem Mahmoud said that the resignations had been brought about by a perceived lack of commitment and Al Jazeera professionalism in media coverage, adding that “the management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries.”
He said that “there are instructions to us to telecast certain news”.
Mahmoud announced his and the staff’s resignations on air, saying management in Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, were not committed to journalistic standards, and had instructed staff to favour the views of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Karem Mahmoud, a veteran of the BBC World Service, joined Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr in 2011 to report on his homeland. But he tells that in the past few weeks the channel has taken a political bias “which undermines everything we’re taught as reporters and broadcasters, and is not in line with what I believe to be right.”
The alliance with one party has exacerbated the situation in Egypt, rather than helped it, Mahmoud said.
“The coverage over the last few weeks was the tipping point – especially the airing of extreme speeches over the last few days, which have added to the crisis Egypt is seeing right now,”.
Haggag Salama, a correspondent of the network in Luxor, had resigned on Sunday accusing it of “airing lies and misleading viewers”. He announced his resignation in a phone-in interview with Dream 2 channel.
Four Egyptian members of editorial staff at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha resigned in protest against what they termed a “biased editorial policy” pertaining to the events in Egypt, Ala’a Al Aioti, a news producer, told Gulf News by phone.
An official from AL-Jazeera told Agence France-Presse that the employees who resigned “had not adapted to the editorial line of Al-Jazeera, which refuses to bow to pressure and which continues its coverage with professionalism, regardless of who is in power.”
Al Arabiya, the other large network in the Gulf is more in line with Saudi Arabia and UAE and does not support the Muslim brotherhood, and they are reporting more stories against the toppled regime.
Saudi Arabia has pledged 5 billion dollar to the new government and UAE pledged 3 billion.
Are Arabic news channels abandoning journalistic standards in favour of the view of the governments that support them?