Relationship between press and politics

This is not really related to Islam in Europe, but it shows how the press is seen in the Arab world. Tunisia is upset at how it is being portrayed by Aljazeera, which is based in Qatar and so in protest, it closed its embassy in Qatar.

In other words, it saw a report in what is supposedly a free enterprise TV station, as a political statement for which the gov't is reponsible. This is quite similar to the Arab expectations of Denmark. Arabs expected the Danish gov't to take steps against Jyllands-Posten after it published the cartoons, since there is no such concept as "free press" in the Arab world. If a Danish newspaper published something, it must be endorsed by its gov't as well.

If Aljazeera is indeed a free press, then this move should worry all those who support freedom of the press.

Aljazeera has denied that it is pursuing a "political agenda" against Tunisia, after Tunis closed its embassy in Doha to protest against an alleged "hostile campaign" by the Qatar-based television channel.

Waddah Khanfar, the director general of Aljazeera network, told AFP: "We do not have a political agenda against Tunisia or any other side.

"We regret the Tunisian decision, and we reaffirm that we are committed to [providing a platform for] different views".

Aljazeera would welcome "any Tunisian official who would want to speak to the channel," Khanfar said.

"When we host certain figures, it does not mean that Aljazeera endorses their positions," he said.

No comment

"When we host certain figures, it does not mean that Aljazeera endorses their positions"

Waddah Khanfar, chairman, Aljazeera network

The Qatari government has not commented on Tunisia's decision to close its Doha embassy.

Thursday's Qatari press reported the news but withheld editorial comment.

The Tunisian move followed the airing by Aljazeera of interviews with Moncef Marzouki, an opposition activist based in Paris who called for "civil resistance".

The Tunisian foreign ministry released a statement on Wednesday accusing Aljazeera of ignoring “truth and objectivity every time that it deals with current affairs in Tunisia ... apparently waging a hostile campaign aimed at harming Tunisia".

Source: Aljazeera (English)

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