9 11 2007

I mentioned a while ago that I was going to write a defense of al-Jazeera, but their code of ethics says why I love them better than I ever could. If CNN has such a code in their “about” section, it’s very difficult to find.

There are 10 points, and every progressing number fills me with love, but for the sake of brevity I’ll just quote the first three and you can check the rest out yourself.

1. Adhere to the journalistic values of honesty, courage, fairness, balance, independence, credibility and diversity, giving no priority to commercial or political considerations over professional ones.

2. Endeavour to get to the truth and declare it in our dispatches, programmes and news bulletins unequivocally in a manner which leaves no doubt about its validity and accuracy.

3. Treat our audiences with due respect and address every issue or story with due attention to present a clear, factual and accurate picture while giving full consideration to the feelings of victims of crime, war, persecution and disaster, their relatives and our viewers, and to individual privacy and public decorum. Read the rest of Al-Jazeera’s code of ethics

It’s fair to say that having a good code of ethics doesn’t mean an organization will always follow it, but if you compare al-Jazeera’s coverage of world events to say, CNN’s, I think you’ll agree that a good code of ethics definitely helps.


Background on the Kurds, Turkey and the PKK

3 11 2007
The Kurds
The Kurds

Dreams of independence
Turkey’s lonely Kurdish villages
Turkey’s Kurds try to be heard

In search of Kurdistan

Al-Jazeera has this handy little table in its recent article about nationalist, anti-Kurdish sentiment in Turkey. It’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more about the Kurdish/Turkish/PKK situation.

The PKK and Turkey

24 10 2007

I apologize for my extended and unannounced hiatus. I was sick and also incredibly busy. If this were a real blog that people read I probably couldn’t get away with that, but fortunately it is not.

I’m going to start with the gigantic news that’s all over the U.S. press -that Turkey wants to cross its border with Iraq to take out the PKK.

This is not a real countryThe PKK is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. For the uninitiated, there is, in fact, no official Kurdistan – Kurds are spread out over Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and a little bit of Syria and Russia.

Kurds have been campaigning for their sovereignty since the early 20th century, and the PKK functions somewhat like the Irish Republican Army. Their activities are primarily focused on obtaining the independence of Kurdistan, and they sometimes engage in terrorism to that end.

As you can see on the map there, a significant portion of the Kurdish population lives in what is officially Turkey, and there has historically been a lot of tension between Turkey and Kurdish nationalists.

So, some Iraqi members of the PKK crossed the Iraq-Turkey border and killed several Turkish soldiers. I think it was 12. And Turkey wants to cross the border and retaliate.

The problem for the U.S. is that the Kurds are our only friends in Iraq, and we would prefer not to piss them off. It’s a pickle.

I’d almost forgotten about Al-Jazeera English

14 09 2007

That is, the broadcast service, not the web service.

In case you didn’t hear about it yesterday: Sattar Abu Reisha, a leader of the Sunni tribes in al-Anbar who have recently aligned with the United States against al-Qaeda, was killed yesterday by a roadside bomb. Al-Jazeera ran a story on him before he was killed, and this is it.

Part One:

Part Two:

Read the story about Abu Reisha (written before he was killed): Al-Anbar’s Ghost

(I know all these stories are from Egypt and Al-Jazeera so far. Stuff from Palestine and Iran is coming soon.)

Resistance Group Wants to Negotiate With the U.S.

13 09 2007

I know I said that my next post would be a passionate defense of Al-Jazeera, but I was planning on referencing this book by an old professor of mine and I just remembered I let a friend borrow it. So I’m saving the defense.

But I’ll start with a story from Al-Jazeera: Iraq Tribal Leader Offers U.S. Talks.

Islamic Army of Iraq

The Islamic Army in Iraq has offered to begin peace negotiations with the United States if the U.S. provides a timetable for the withdrawal of troops.

The IAI is a nationalist organization composed mostly of Sunni Iraqis with a minority of Shi’a, and many of them are Baathists. Their goal is to remove both the U.S. and Iran from Iraq, and they’ve been involved in more than a few kidnappings. They also were at one time associated with Al-Qaeda, but have severed ties because, according to the article, Al-Qaeda’s “agenda started to reveal itself clearly in October last year.” Also according to the article, the IAI is the largest armed group in Iraq.

I’m using this story to illustrate a point – well, two points actually. Read the rest of this entry »