Al-Jazeera is not “owned by the Emir of Qatar” as The Australian claims (“Flicking the switch to Doha”, 7/5), but received loan finance from the Qatar government. From this false premise The Australian argues that because Qatar imposes censorship, Al-Jazeera must itself be censored and should not be used as a source by the ABC. That is fallacious, and also a bit rich coming from a newspaper owned by an unashamedly conservatively biased global media empire.
The only censorship of Al Jazeera has been in the form of bans and forced shutdowns by governments wanting to control their coverage, including Egypt, Algeria, the Palestinian Authority, and the U.S., who bombed their offices in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In spite of that, in March this year U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Al Jazeera provided more informative news coverage than the opinion-driven coverage of American mass media – like Murdoch’s Fox News, for example. The ABC is right to take Clinton’s advice.