November 16, 2006

Al Jazeera in English

ONE of the breaking grounds in international news media today is the recent broadcasting of the controversial Al Jazeera network, in English. While the network has yet to be carried by any Philippine cable TV station, its English news is now accessible via its web site (click blog title above).

Sure Western politicians claim Al Jazeera has an Arab agenda. But it is no different than Fox News having an American, and worse, a Republican agenda. As a journalist, I think it is important to get different perspectives of pressing issues of the day. Al Jazeera presents such a different but important take on news events, employing hard-nosed and credible journalists the same as Western media does. (Riz Khan, formerly of CNN, is one of its program hosts, for example.)

(A page from the Al Jazeera web site)

What it is great about Al Jazeera's coverage is that it focuses its lens on countries and events normally ignored by Western media. In fact, there is news on the Philippines everyday, which I think is cool, because the only time the Philippines gets into CNN, BBC or NYT, is when there's a disaster in the country.

Yes, the Al Jazeera coverage is not only about the US troubles in Iraq but covers a good number of vital issues. Today for example, its headline was about the amendment of the rape law in Pakistan, which now allows victims to file the rape cases in civil court. Under the old law, rape victims had to go to the Sharia court where they had to present four male witness on her behalf. If no witnesses come forward, she will be tried for adultery. Sick.

I hope the local cable firms start offering this important news channel soon.

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