Al-Jazeera Staffers Quit Over Biased Egypt Coverage

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 05:58 PM

By Greg Richter

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Twenty-two staffers of TV station Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr resigned Monday for what they called biased coverage by their editors, GulfNews.com reports.

The staffers say the station's reporting did not align with the actual events taking place as protesters for and against ousted President Mohammed Morsi have rallied in the streets, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have threatened revolt if Morsi is not reinstated.

Anchor Karem Mahmoud announced his and the staff's resignations on air, saying management in Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, were not committed to journalistic standards, and had instructed staff to favor the views of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries," Mahmoud said in his on-air statement.

Four Egyptian members of the editorial staff at Doha resigned as well.

Haggag Salama, a correspondent Luxor, tendered his resignation on Sunday, accusing the network of “airing lies and misleading viewers."

Mahmoud, a veteran of the BBC World Service, joined Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr in 2011 to report on his homeland. But he tells Cairo Scene  that in the past few weeks the channel has taken a political bias "which undermines everything we’re taught as reporters and broadcasters, and is not in line with what I believe to be right."

The alliance with one party has exacerbated the situation in Egypt, rather than help it, Mahmoud said.

"The coverage over the last few weeks was the tipping point – especially the airing of extreme speeches over the last few days, which have added to the crisis Egypt is seeing right now," Mahmoud said.

An official with the station told Agence France-Presse that the employees who resigned "had not adapted to the editorial line of Al-Jazeera, which refuses to bow to pressure and which continues its coverage with professionalism, regardless of who is in power."

Al Jazeera America is set to launch in August, and has signed up several journalists, including former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien.


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