April 07, 2003
Al Jazeera

A very interesting article over at The Register - Al Jazeera and the Net - free speech, but don't say that. The Register are mainly a techie news outfit, but they are sometimes at their most interesting when they go off topic a bit.

It seems that Al Jazeera are finding themselves being blocked from Western audiences.

A couple of bits I'll quote verbatim: We should also clarify something regarding the footage of the prisoners and the dead servicemen; military spokesmen to the contrary, reproducing such images is not a breach of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention is directed at governments, and does not cover news organisations. Al Jazeera has arguably broadcast images of the Iraqi Government breaching the Geneva Convention, but that is not the same thing.

To get this into perspective, note that one of the most striking pictures from the Vietnam war was of a South Vietnamese officer shooting a prisoner - do we argue that this should not have been published? If Al Jazeera had footage of an Iraqi shooting a British prisoner, should that be broadcast? The other way around? Are our standards today different from those of the 60s, or do the criteria differ depending on the nationalities of the participants and/or the audience? The answers are not straightforward, nor should they be.

Posted to The Big Room by Simon Brunning at April 07, 2003 03:46 PM

I can't believe the trouble Al Jazeera has recieved because of the introduction of an english language site. When I first discovered they were going to make one I was really interested but like the rest of the world couldn't get anywhere near what had been written... oh well I am glad it is back and hope they manage to keep it up for longer this time.

It appears that speach is only free if you are within set guidelines.

Thanks for the article - it was great!

Posted by: emma on April 7, 2003 04:44 PM
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