At a seminar organized by the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) at the UN Human Rights Council’s headquarters on September 18th 2017, on the sidelines of the 36th session of the Council, discussions were held on the relationship between “media and terrorism in the Middle East and the role of Qatari media in spreading hatred and violence in the region.” Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV channel has been directly accused of supporting terrorism in the Middle East and the world.
“It is no longer acceptable for the media, including those financed by Qatar, such as Al-Jazeera, to be left out of account after everything they do in the region,” said Dr. Ahmed Thani Al Hamli, founder and president of the Arab Federation for Human Rights.
He added that AFHR, which is as an Arab human rights body of some 40 Arab organizations, “always encourages freedom of opinion and expression, but without prejudice to the responsibility of the media to maintain national security and peace.”
“If media freedom is right, people and individuals have the right not to be exposed to the threat of terrorism and violence that the gulf nation is inciting,” he said. He pointed out that the laws of Western countries, which are known for their concern for freedom of information and expression, never allow incitement to violence, hatred or murder.
Journalist and writer Abdul Aziz al-Khamis said that “the issue is important because terrorist operations are carried out with media support that incites violence and many terrorist groups have links with Qatari-backed media such as Al-Jazeera in Doha and Al-Kawthar in London.”
He equally cited an example of the island’s relationship with Osama bin Laden, the late Al Qaeda leader. “When I took part in interventions with them, the island asked me to associate Bin Laden with the name of the sheikh,” he said. On Thursday, he believed the goal was to “sanctify Bin Laden.”
There is another example of the island’s hosting of Abu Muhammed al-Julani, head of the Nasra terrorist front. He concluded that “the Qatari media is aimed at destabilizing countries with the claim of supporting democracy and human rights.”
“The freedom of media must be the responsibility of all,” said Dr. Richard Burchill, Director of Research of the Trends Research and Advisory Center, and “it is no longer possible to exploit freedoms to incite the killing of others, violence and terrorism.” He deplored the positions of European countries on Al-Jazeera, which he said incited violence and hatred. He pointed out that Canada is the only country which said it cannot allow the island’s TV channel to operate freely on Canadian territory because of its incitements.
He warned that the Qatar’s media “incites and promotes violence but does not face those who stop it.” He further asked, “Should we allow the media to continue without accountability the incitement to murder and violence and the threat to peace and security in the Middle East and the world?”.
Beja Fatini, an Iranian researcher, warned of the danger of letting the media encourage terrorism. She pointed out that some media, including Al Jazeera, published statements and ideologies of terrorists without refuting them or indicating their weaknesses and gravity.
Commenting on the views of the speakers, Ambassador Ali Abdullah Al-Bajairi, the former Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Russia, reviewed the impact of Al Jazeera’s experience on his country. “Al Jazeera is nothing but a trumpet of terrorism and there is no longer any need to demonstrate that,” he said. He added that the channel “only offers negative information and promotes violence and does not offer any positives,” describing it as a toxic channel.
For more details, please follow the following links:
Arab Federation for Human Rights
Geneva – September 18th 2017