About censorship and Al Jazeera in the U.S.

Al Jazeera LogoIt would be hard to be unaware of Al Jazeera in the U.S. It is, of course, the Middle East news agency. I’d always thought that Al Jazeera was focused on delivering news about the Middle-East to the Middle-East and that the only time their reports surfaced on U.S. media was when major things were going down in their area and they had the best news feeds.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself looking at Al Jazeera here in New Zealand on cable. And even more surprising is how utterly professional they are. Their news shows rival anything that CNN, the BBC or the German DW networks are putting out. When I first saw their stuff some years ago, they seemed small and provincial. They are anything but that now.

So, where are they on the U.S. networks? The answer -is that they simply are not there. They’ve been banned from the U.S. networks by the government.

If they were simply a transparent propaganda mouthpiece for radical Islamic viewpoints, then I could understand, perhaps, this censorship. Though, in general, I disagree with censorship – if folks don’t like something, they are free to tune away from it.

But, the Al Jazeera network isn’t a lot of grainy video of mullahs extolling young Islamic men to become martyrs for Islam and Allah. It is, instead, just another international news network – one that happens to originate in the Middle-East.

We in the U.S. don’t agree all the time with the Germans or the Chinese or even the British, but all of their networks can been found among our cable channels if one goes looking. Frankly, I don’ get the logic for this suppression.

And, the worst of it is, I didn’t even know it was suppressed until I came here and saw it on New Zealand’s cable.

I am impressed with the courage of the New Zealand governmental authorities. They seem so sure that allowing Al Jazeera to be broadcast over the New Zealand airwaves isn’t going to cause the corruption and destruction of New Zealand culture. I wonder what they know that the U.S. folks don’t?

If you want to see Al Jazeera, there are ways to watch it from the U.S. via the Internet. Here’s a link:

Take a look and see if you understand why it’s been banned in the U.S.

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