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Control Room: Al Jazeera's Perspective on the War in Iraq - Essay Example

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The documentary “Control Room” by Jehane Noujaim depicts the role of Al-Jazirah in shaping Arab public opinion, taking the case of the US war in Iraq. After watching this documentary, one can get the idea that Al-Jazirah has strong positive impacts on the Arab viewers, as it…
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Control Room: Al Jazeeras Perspective on the War in Iraq
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A Response to “Control Room” by Jehane Noujaim The documentary “Control Room” by Jehane Noujaim depicts the role of Al-Jazirah in shaping Arab publicopinion, taking the case of the US war in Iraq. After watching this documentary, one can get the idea that Al-Jazirah has strong positive impacts on the Arab viewers, as it shapes and reflects the public Arab opinion, although it has little effect on the Arab foreign policy, which is inconsistent with the Arab public opinion (Leonard and Pirouz). In other words, the Americans fear the fact that Al-Jazirah may mobilize the Arabs against the Americans, and in that case, the Arab politicians may be pressured to react harshly towards the Americans to win the trust of their people. In that sense, Noujaim’s documentary reflects that Al-Jazirah has strong positive effects on the Arab audience, as this channel can urge the Arabs to adopt certain attitudes, opinions, and ideologies.
Focusing on the case of the war in Iraq, this documentary shows the Americans criticizing Al-Jazirah’s use of sensitive expressions and images for exposing the wrong doings of the American soldiers in Iraq (Rageh). As stated by one of the US Officials in the article by Rawya Rageh “Arab Media’s Coverage of Insurgency in Iraq upsets Coalition,” “such words and images on Arab satellite TV typify the kind of coverage as inflammatory lie” (Rageh). This American fear of the effect of Al-Jazirah on the Arab public opinion led them to introduce an American channel, named “Al-Horra,” that would address the Arab world in order to present news and events from the American point of view.
Noujaim’s documentary clearly presents an important aspect of Al-Jazirah that adds to its popularity among the Arab people, which is its live coverage of all news from all over the world. There is no doubt that the channel has a great number of correspondents, who cover almost all areas, even those, which witness wars or extreme tension, such as Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan. To prove this claim, Noujaim’s documentary cites the example of the war in Iraq, as Al-Jazirah focuses on the US violence in Iraq, and their ill-treatment of the Iraqi people during the war. While this coverage is highly appreciated by Arabs because it exposes certain incidents that may not be highlighted in local media, yet, this coverage infuriates the United States, due to the hatred it spreads among Arabs towards the United States. That’s why the United States is using every means possible to change the way Al-Jazirah covers news in Iraq. For example, it has been reported that “the Bush Administration has pressured the government of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar to use its influence to modify the programming of al-Jazirah” (Borger). However, Noujaim’s documentary sends the message that Al-Jazirah’s criticism by the American administration is actualy increasing the popularity of the channel among Arabs, who believe that the performance of Al-Jazirah infuriates the Americans because it covers incidents that they do not want Arabs to know about the behavior of Americans with the Iraqis.
As conveyed by Noujaim’s documentary, what most Arabs appreciated about Al-Jazirah’s coverage of the American war against Iraq was the stations condemnatory tone toward the American attack. The channel "questioned the timing and the rationale for the attack and highlighted the catastrophic impacts of the sanctions on Iraqi citizens, reflecting popular Arab opinion about the US bombing." In fact, the way Al-Jazirah covers news in Iraq infuriates the Americans, and this shows that the Americans can easily see the strong effect of Al-Jazirah on the Arab audiences as they can develop opinions according to what they watch on the channel. In conclusion, as the Arabs are watching the violence and unethical treatments of Iraqis by the Americans through Al-Jazirah channel, they began to develop a sentiment that is anti-American in the region. That’s why the Americans are upset by the focus of Al-Jazirah on the wrong doings of the American soldiers in Iraq.
Works Cited
Borger, Gloria. “Bias in Arab and American Media Regarding the War in Iraq.” Capital Report. 29 Apr. 2004 . Lexis Nexis. 11 Nov. 2011.
Rageh, Rawya. “Arab Medias Coverage of Insurgency in Iraq Upsets Coalition.” The Associated Press. 14 Apr. 2004. Lexis Nexis. 10 Nov. 2011. Read More
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