After my students started talking about the ubiquitous billboards popping up around Beirut touting the launch of a new satellite news channel, Al Mayadeen, I started looking for information about the new initiative but wasn’t finding anything more than reposts of press releases. My students had pointed out that the channel would be helmed by Ghassan Bin Jiddo, who used to run the Beirut Al Jazeera offices, but quit last spring, accusing the channel of being biased against Syria among other things.
The online news site Now Lebanon posted a fuller account of the channel today, noting that it purports to specifically have a focus on reporting Palestine (although I have also heard it will give a different view of the Syria conflict). For Westerners, part of Al Jazeera’s claim to fame was first built on its coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but the Angry Arab noted in his blog last spring that the channel had shifted gears in that regard and was part of what he calls the “Saudi-Israel alliance.”
What is clear is Al Jazeera has taken sides in the various revolts around the Middle East. But as the Now Lebanon article notes, that doesn’t mean there is commercial support for yet another satellite news channel, which begs the question then of how Al Mayadeen or any other new endeavor can support its work.