Al-Jazera

Control Room is a documentary film portraying the various perspectives that were not seen during the Iraq War in 2003. The documentary film focuses it’s attention on the Arab News Broadcast, Al Jazera, which was founded in 1996. It is now considered one of the most prominent news channels in the world, and a commercial name known in every country. Al Jazera is known for its controversial news coverage, going into places and obtaining images that many other foreign and Arab news channels cannot get to.

By 2002, CNN in the United States was using coverage and images from Al Jazera. Al Jazera introduces a diversity of perspectives, in which viewers may not see or hear of otherwise. For example, in the documentary, it shows how Al Jazera covered both the American POW’s and showed footage of their death, as well as footage of dead Iraqi civilians. I argue that Al Jazera is a great example of contextual objectivity–they show both sides of the picture, however, their main audience and sentiment is geared towards the Arab people. It is impossible for a news channel, or news medium to show every and all sides of a story. But Al Jazera, despite its bias at certain times and opposition of American and Israeli influence in the Middle East, they do show all sides of the picture. For example, many Arab countries have banned Al Jazera because of its news against the regime in that country. So, Al Jazera does have news that is against the Arab states because it is not a state driven news channel. It is autonomous in that respect.

However, in terms of the audience and what news channel the audience consumes, I make the argument that it is up to us to watch, listen and read news from different sources and not just one–that is the only way of getting the full picture from very different sides. Like my mother–who follows the news religiously–watches CNN, MSNBC and Fox (ugh), but then turns the satellite on and watches Al Jazera. When I asked her why she said: “Because I know Al Jazera will always show me something that CNN didn’t want to show.”

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