Calling out Al-Arabiya?

Maybe its me but Hamas PM Ismail Hanai is calling out  Al-Arabiya  in this interview.   Go to  01:30.   He says something along the lines of ” I want to take this opportunity to express  mine and  the Palestinian people’s great esteem for the noble role Al-Jazeera carries out, in addition to the other Satellite stations that were committed to the Umma’s causes, especially the Palestinian cause.” 

Being a good diplomat/ politician, Hanai  never explicitly mentions Al-Arabiya by name, but (at least in my view) by declaring that Al-Jazeera are other are committed  to the Umma’s causes, he is subtly saying that some stations are not,especially since its pretty unusual to hear any reference to the quality of their coverage on Al-Jazeera.   A 12 year old Arab who barely follows politics would immediately understand the reference:  Al-Jazeera stands for the Umma’s causes, whereas other unanmed stations, such as Arabiya, do not. 

This is something to keep in mind when trying to gauge the significance of interviews by high level politicians on Al-Arabiya.   In the majority of Arab eyes, its seen as a tool of the Saudi royal family.  If you want to really engage the masses, you gotta go on Al-Jazeera.  It can’t be avoided.

5 Responses

  1. Sorry Rob,

    This statement is way off:

    In the majority of Arab eyes, its seen as a tool of the Saudi royal family.

    Al Jazeera is not the trusted news source for a significant portion of moderate Arabs who turn to AlArabiya instead.

  2. that’s the first time I’ve heard this. Al Jazeera is the overwhelmingly most popular Arabic news satellite. Noone else comesclose.

    Got any sources to back up your statement?

  3. Avaintcare is very wrong. What moderate Arabs? He has no data to back this statement other than a statement.

    What you said Rob is definitely on the nail. There is no doubt that Al-Arabiya is a Saudi government tool even if one of its major studios is in Dubai and that it has a long way to go.

    Something else worth observing: when BBC Arabic came out, I said to myself: “Uh oh, Al-Jazeera, you are in trouble.” The Gaza war reinforced Al-Jazeera’s position as one of the most objective Arab TV Networks which represents Arab public opinion leaving even the BBC Arabic (which, by the way, is closer to representing the Arabs than Al-Arabiyya is) way behind.

  4. According to a 2005 joint University of Maryland and Zogby International poll, al-Jazeera enjoys 65% of viewers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates; al-Arabiyya nets 34%. For further analysis and context, look here:

  5. Saying Al Jazeera is the Arab world’s most watched news channel is rather different to your statement on Al Arabiya:

    In the majority of Arab eyes, its seen as a tool of the Saudi royal family.

    which is what I disagree with.

    If Semi-Expert’s numbers are correct, a parallel would be claiming CNN has no influence vis a vis Fox News in the US.

    I am not suggesting Al Jazeera isn’t popular or indeed the most popular regional news channel. I just disagree with your statement about the <b?majority of arabs’ views on Al Arabiya.

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