Egypt Independent

Boycotting Al Jazeera is not the answer



Boycotting Al-Jazeera is not the solution

Hassan Nafaa

Two weeks ago I read in the news that my friend Mohamed Nour Farahat, a law expert, blamed me for making an appearance on Al-Jazeera satellite channel. On his Twitter account, he said, "Your scientific and political history are too good for you to appear with questionable figures on Al-Jazeera Mubasher[Masr] to discuss issues brought up by media that serve a specific agenda against Egypt. Even if your talk was balanced, the truth will be lost in the midst of those devils. Sending across a media message is about taking a position."

Since I am not a fan of social media, I acknowledged my friend's right to reproach me. Reproach from friends is acceptable even desirable to point out a mistake or prevent further mistakes. That was it. However, the issue was brought up again because of Al-Jazeera's coverage of the developments in Egypt since the 30 June protests. The channel hosted a group of Egyptian writers and media professionals, of whom I was one, to comment on the ongoing events from the channel's studios in Doha.

It seems clear that the vast majority of Egyptians feel that Al-Jazeera's coverage of the events is unprofessional since it is entirely biased to the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, Egyptians seem to be too angry with Al-Jazeera to the extent that some describe those who participate in its shows as traitors even if they appear to express a point of view different from Al-Jazeera's.

I am not opposed to the point of view which says that Al-Jazeera, and particularly AL-Jazeera Mubasher Masr, is biased to the Brotherhood and their supporters and therefore totally unprofessional. This bias becomes all the more clear through following Al-Jazeera's coverage, reports and investigative work, or merely watching how its presenters steer their discussions.

We expressed that point of view very frankly to the channels' officials when we met them, and even in the presence of Qatari Prince Tamim who met with all the Egyptian figures who were taking part in that discussion. Our discussion lasted two hours.

Is the solution to boycott Al-Jazeera like some demand? I do not think so. It does not resolve the issue for those who believe that the 30 June was an uprising, of whom I am one,to boycott a platform like Al-Jazeera.