Tag Archives | Al Jazeera

Debating The Global Media—in Kazakhstan

Sun and EagleAstana, Kazakhstan: Most people wouldn’t bother going half way around the world for their fifteen seconds of fame.  Ok, so maybe there was little fame to be found but, it was still worthwhile to spend two days flying back and forth to attend the two-day annual Eurasian Media Forum in Kazakhstan, a Central Asian nation that is actually the 9th largest country in the world, with ultra wealthy oil and gas fields.

It was also one of the few countries in the world that gave up its nuclear weapons. South Africa is another one.

Kazakhstan flickered briefly in our popular culture when the film Borat made fun of the place—it was shot in Romania, not there—and more recently, figured in the investigation into the terrifying actions of the Tsarnaev ‘Bomb Brothers’ in Boston responsible for doing so much vicious damage at the Marathon. It was reported that they had also lived here although local media disputes it.  (Two Kazakh kids are said to be in jail now in the US for visa violations although it’s not clear how or if they are linked.)

The forum here deals with political and media issues and attracts top journalists and policymakers to hold forth on panels.  I was on one with none other than Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor.… Read the rest

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Al-Jazeera Buys Current TV, Pundits’ Heads Explode

Picture: Flickr User Mike Licht (CC)

Current TV was sold to Al-Jazeera English for a reported $500 million dollars. Eliot Spitzer has quit his show, while the Young Turks made a point of saying they are independent, and thus owned by neither organization.

Time Warner Cable opportunistically jumped at the chance to drop Current with the ‘change of ownership’ clause in their contract. Time Warner contends it was not a political move, but cited ‘lack of demand’ and their already-streaming online free content as factors. According to the New York Times, Time Warner Cable wrote: “We are keeping an open mind, and as the service develops, we will evaluate whether it makes sense, for our customers, to launch the network.”

The point has been made at AlterNet that Time Warner subscribers are hit with the cost of political organizations they may not even want, with FOX charging $1 per month for its content and MSNBC 20 cents.… Read the rest

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Glenn Beck: Al Gore Wouldn’t Sell Current to Me, Chose Buyer That ‘Hates America’

Glenn Beck at CPAC 2010. Photo: Gage Skidmore CC

So good it has to be true! From The Wrap:

Glenn Beck says Al Gore refused to consider selling him Current TV before selling the channel to Al Jazeera, a network that Beck says “hates America.”

Current TV announced Wednesday that it had been sold to Al Jazeera, the network financed by Qatar. It plans to shut down Current’s lineup of liberal-skewing news and talk in favor of its own programming.

After the Wall Street Journal reported that Gore turned away interest from Beck last year, Beck took to the airwaves Thursday to offer his side of the story. He said his negotiators approached Current about buying the network in order to get Beck’s network, Blaze TV, into the 60 million U.S. homes reached by Current.

Beck said his people were told that the former vice president would have to be consulted on the possibility.

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Noam Chomsky on the History of the Commons

Down the road only a few generations, the millennium of the Magna Carta, one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights, will arrive. Whether it will be celebrated, mourned, or ignored is not at all clear.

That should be a matter of serious immediate concern. What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that event. It is not an attractive prospect if present tendencies persist – not least, because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

The first scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone. It was not an easy task. There was no good text available. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats” – a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished.

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Bahrain: Social Media, Graffiti Art and Revolution

‘Social media’ conjures up thoughts of instant internet communication, global chatter over the web, computers, mobiles, tweets, posts etc. But there is a communication form that predates these modern tools – political street art. Street art can be dated back to ancient Egypt and throughout history it has been employed by those with a political point to make.

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Al Jazeera Debates The Winds Of Change In The Arab World

Doha, Qatar: When I arrived in the capital of Qatar as one of the guest participants in the 6th annual Al Jazeera Forum focused on the Arab world in transition, it was clear the mood had changed.

Al Jazeera

In years past, the humiliation and oppression of the region was driving the discourse, but this year, events had taken a positive turn with popular youth revolutions catapulting the Al Jazeera TV networks into the global spotlight with governments falling and a new future emerging.

A revolt in Libya was topping the news, being described as civil war—whether it is or isn’t—with Western intervention in the form of a no fly zone on the horizon to either protect that country’s people from a mad dictator, or in Col. Gadaffi’s view, use humanitarianism as a cover for an armed effort by foreign interests to seize the country’s oil wealth.

Just as the Forum begun, we learned that an Al Jazeera cameraman, Hassan Al Jaber, who I  met at an earlier Forum, was killed in Libya, likely a targeted killing because the Al Jazeera people I met believe Gadaffi put money on their heads.… Read the rest

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