The alternative rises

The annual al-Jazeera conference in Doha has generated the right kind of buzz:

The al-Jazeera television network could be emerging as a freedom champion against U.S. pressures on the channel, leading media figures say.

“I support al-Jazeera because al-Jazeera has done more to propagate democracy in the Middle East region than anybody else, certainly more than the American government has done,” media specialist Hugh Miles told IPS. “It’s strange to me that people refer to al-Jazeera as a ‘terrorist network’ because that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Miles spoke to IPS at the third annual al-Jazeera forum at Doha in Qatar Mar. 31 to Apr. 2. The forum highlighted the successful recent expansion of the network while also addressing difficulties that reporters face in the Middle East hot spots.

Miles, author of ‘Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World’ and an award- winning freelance journalist said former U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld had got it wrong on al-Jazeera.

“Al-Jazeera has been called a ‘terrorist network’ or ‘the voice of (Osama) bin Laden’, but this just demonstrates deep ignorance of its history and the channel,” Miles said.… 

If Western corporate media continues to push the belligerent tactics of the major powers, alternatives are essential.