Qatar used Al Jazeera to suit foreign policy, claims WikiLeaks expose

Monday, December 6, 2010

LONDON - American diplomatic cables leaked by the whistle blowing web site WikiLeaks have claimed that Arabic television news channel al-Jazeera changed its coverage to suit Qatar’s foreign policy.

US embassy memos contradict Arabic satellite channel’s insistence that it is editorially independent despite being heavily subsidized by Gulf stateccording to the cables, Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, offered a deal which was not agreed with Egypt over al-Jazeera.

According to The Guardian, Qatar used al-Jazeera as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions.

Qatar has obviously been embarrassed by this controversial disclosure, which follows its equally controversially victory to host the 2022 World Cup.

In the past, the emir of Qatar has publicly refused US requests to use his influence to temper al-Jazeera’s reporting.

The Doha-based al-Jazeera was launched in 1996 and has become the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East.

It has been seen by many as relatively free and open in its coverage of the region, but government control over its reporting, has left US diplomats perplexed. (ANI)

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