As-Safir, a left-wing Lebanese newspaper, first reported on Saturday that Al Jazeera’s Beirut bureau chief Ghassan Ben Jeddo resigned. The news has now been confirmed by Al-Manar, which has interviewed Ben Jeddo.
According to As-Safir, Ben Jeddo resigned first and foremost because “Al Jazeera abandoned an ideal of objectivity and professionalism and resorted to gutter journalism, which has turned Al Jazeera from a media source to the operations room for incitement and mobilization,” unacceptable especially in light of the historic turning point facing the region.
Moreover, As-Safir says that Ben Jeddo was particularly angered by Al Jazeera’s scant coverage of the bloodshed in Bahrain, in sharp contrast to the intensive coverage that it has given to Libya, Yemen, and now Syria.
Regarding Ben Jeddo’s view of Syria, As-Safir notes in passing that he supports the right of Syrians to protest in the streets for reform and freedom, but that he also champions the national project and regional role of Syria.
Ben Jeddo, the former host of the Hiwar Maftuh [Open Dialogue] program on Al Jazeera, was “one of the most visible personalities of the network,” and his resignation “will bring further embarrassment to the network,” in the words of As’ad AbuKhalil, a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. AbuKhalil adds in his blog The Angry Arab News Service: “I have heard from a number of people who work in Aljazeera Arabic and English and I am hearing that the majority are quite irate at the coverage of the network especially in relation to the Bahrain issue.”
Yoshie Furuhashi is Editor of MRZine.