Media Scuffle Among Gulf States

03/02/2019

I spent a fair bit of today either out and about or with a migraine, so another late upload now I’ve gotten to it. I saw an article by Al Jazeera earlier about the Asian Cup, and while I’m not a sporting fan it’s a simple example to explain briefly the bias of media due to ownership and politics.

For those that aren’t aware, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have isolated their former friend Qatar, accusing them of hostility, links to terrorism, and fostering better relations with Iran. Qatar has tried to refute all of these accusations, but for some time they have been blockaded. The latest, albeit hardly relevant occurrence, is how media in the surrounding countries have reported on Qatar’s win against Japan. They did so by focusing intently on Japan’s loss, with Al Jazeera accusing them of intentionally omitting anything to do with Qatar.

Overall this doesn’t exactly mean much, other than as a basic representation of the current rivalries and how media is used to skew views in a certain direction. While Al Jazeera is a decent news source for the Middle East and African regions, its reporting regarding Qatar is questionable. The reason for that is the fact that it is owned by the state, similar to the ABC here, but much more restrictive I would imagine. Our ABC can still bring up dirt on the Coalition, no matter how badly stacked the board gets. Qatar’s government is probably less forgiving about negative reporting.

Probably not the best article to make an example of, considering I would agree with Al Jazeera that the other media sites are being petty in their vendetta, but it clearly shows both sides of the divide, both politically and in the media. Qatar has been at the centre of a number of human rights abuses, such as its workplace conditions and migrant workforce death toll building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, but Al Jazeera has often downplayed the issue, instead diverting attention to the hype surrounding the event itself. That they accuse other media outlets of bias is somewhat hypocritical, but then almost every news source is guilty of such tactics whether they realise it or not. As Al Jazeera is state owned, I would assume it is very well calculated.

Back to the more substantial, better timed posts tomorrow I hope, but suffice to say the Gulf States are not exactly friendly places.

 

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