Vincenzo, living in Malaysia, reminds us that it’s not just Red China that has a problem with press freedoms. Ten days ago, he blogged: ‘[With] the resignation of two senior editors due to Squatgate, the suspension of an east Malaysia tribune, and recently the suspension of a night edition daily, Im wondering whether the same stuff will be applied to us lesser mortals who blog on the Internet’.
While the Nostalgia blog says it is ‘quasi-ﬁctional’, it is disturbing that there remains some government interference in the Malaysian press, which appears to be what Vincenzo is hinting at. Perhaps those in that country would care to let me know more.
Partly by contrast, an interview with National Radio’s Kim Hill last week in New Zealand discussed the press freedoms at Al-Jazeera, where HRH the Emir of Qatar tends to be hands-off with the channel. The impression was the channel tended to be reasonably objective—and it was the ﬁrst to interview Israelis on issues in the region, and Al-Arabiya, on which I have appeared, was regarded as an imitator who caught on to a good thing. Al-Jazeera International’s Sir David Frost (interviewed here in The Observer) estimates that several days’ worth of oil revenues in Qatar could keep Al-Jazeera going for a year.
By western standards, HRH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s powers may seem great, yet Qatar seems to operate efﬁciently, with a low crime rate.
As a Confucianist, I like the sound of Qatar, though I have never visited there. It appears (although my sources are the ofﬁcial ones) that there is a ruler who treats his subjects fairly; in return, the state functions well. (A similar idea can apply in a democracy.) The minute the state interferes, people feel mistrust—leading to areas of rebellion.
Al-Jazeera may be the ﬁrst global media brand from the Middle East when its international service commences in May—which suggests to me that Doha and numerous other cities in the region will be this century’s bright stars, all through exhibiting a sense of freedom. Posted by Jack Yan, 01:56
Qatari Media is by no means free. Having loved and worked in media in qatar i would aily encounter restrictions on what i could say.
AL Jazeera itself is banned form reporting negatively on Qatar, after all the state coffers produce their revenue since advertising income is so poor.
Setting up the station is actually all part of a carefully managed campaign to make Qatar seem like a liberal paradise, which it is isn't. The country is still transforming from feudal relations of production, rather rapidly, to a form of capitalism; a form that only a state with 180,000 nationals could enjoy.
Meanwhile the government there goes to great pains to make itself look like a democracy. NB: the current emir took power from his father in a coup.
I'm by no means saying that Qatar is a failing, despotic mess (although it would be interesitng to see what happened to it without its 300 trillion cuft of natural gas) i'm just trying to say tha tif you think it enjoys freedom of the press and is going to be a functioning democracy anytime soon, then you are mistaken.
Freedom2starve: thank you. I only had the ofﬁcial information (in other words, I had wanted to hear from someone more knowledgeable within the nation), and nothing “from the inside”, so to speak. Thank you for sharing what you have.Post a Comment
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