What Wikileaked About Al Jazeera
Is the rapidly expanding Middle East satellite television network and voice of the Arab Spring as independent as it claims?
Al Jazeera has been making waves in the Middle East ever since it aired its first broadcast on Nov. 1, 1996. In its news dispatches and talk shows, the pan-Arab satellite channel, which is funded by the state of Qatar, has been a strident critic of U.S. foreign policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories, even while it has been a thorn in the side of many an Arab autocrat. But after the last dump of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, on Aug. 30, articles have begun to circulate — especially in Iranian and Syrian media outlets — about Al Jazeera’s close relationship with a surprising interlocutor: the U.S. government.