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Al Jazeera: Sloping Down

Published on 30 December 2014, by M. Tomazy.
Ever since it began broadcasting in 1996, Al Jazeera has garnered a reputation for accuracy and integrity oftentimes missing on other mainstream media channels. So, it is very distressing to learn today that the royal family of Qatar, who own the channel, have agreed to censor the channel as part of diplomatic agreements with neighboring middle eastern nations.
After the signing of an accord between Qatar and Egypt, Al Jazeera shut down its Egyptian “Al Jazeera Direct From Egypt” channel. This channel was often times critical of the politicians and politics of Egypt, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring revolution. Now it is gone, “until the conditions exist to reopen it” according to the official release.

Already the network has had members of its Egyptian office held in prison for over a year. It is unknown if the shutdown is tied to this, but the imprisoned staff are hoping for release. Lobbying for their release one can find many of the biggest names in journalism. This now means should they be released now, the cost of their freedom shall be a bitter pill to swallow.
With the evaporation of journalistic standards and ethics, Al Jazeera had stood apart from the commercialized profit-centers of other media outlets. It existed to inform, not to produce a return on investment, and as a result its journalists were free to explore the deeper meaning and explain it to their audience. When they purchased crowdsourced journalism outlet CurrentTV, it looked as if Al Jazeera had finally arrived to a global audience.
Now there is a firm reminder that while they may not be subject to the dictates of commercial news, they still have a tight leash upon their neck. As the full property of Qatar, they are subject to the dictates from the House of Thani, the royal family who rule the nation as an absolute monarchy. If it is politically expedient to throw Al Jazeera under the bus, under the bus they shall be thrown.
This is a sad day, not only for Al Jazeera, for for integrity in news worldwide.