Marching with glory

 04 Nov 2017 - 13:06

The Peninsula

Al Jazeera Media Network celebrated 21st anniversary amid demand from Saudi-led quartet for its closure. In fact Al Jazeera was the first victim of ongoing blockade of  Qatar as siege states shut down network’s offices and banned Al Jazeera transmissions in their countries immediately after severing relations with Qatar in June this year. Later on while presenting a list of thirteen demands to lift blockade on Qatar, siege countries demanded closure of Al Jazeera.

For its objective and honest coverage of events, Al Jazeera sacrificed a lot in last two decades; its offices were shut down, its reporters were killed in war zones of Syria, Iraq, Libya or tortured or detained in some countries like Egypt, but the Al Jazeera Media Network never budged an inch from its principled stance on freedom of press and freedom of expression and continued its journey with responsible and factual journalism on complex issues and events.

On network’s 21st anniversary, Giles Trendle, Al Jazeera English managing director said: “This newsroom has transformed the media landscape the world over - but it’s come at a price. Many of the journalists here have friends or colleagues who have sacrificed a great deal for the sake of what they consider to be sacrosanct: the right of people to be informed,” he added.

In the last five months, Qatar has repeatedly rejected the unjust demand of siege countries of shutting down Al Jazeera in unequivocal terms. Few days ago, Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in CBS “60 Minutes” programme that Qatar would not shut down Al Jazeera. “Our sovereignty is a red line. We don’t accept anybody interfering in our sovereignty. When you tell me to close a channel like Al Jazeera, history will write one day in 50, 60 or 70 years how it changed the whole idea of free speech in the region,” the Emir told Charlie Rose, the host of the programme.

Almost all human rights and press freedom organisations of the world including The Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders,  International Federation of Journalists, the New York Times editorial board and The Guardian have condemned siege countries hostile demands and actions against Al Jazeera On November 1, 1996, Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language satellite channel was launched while Al Jazeera English was established in 2006 and has since won a host of prestigious awards from organisations around the world. Just a day ago, Al Jazeera English won two prizes at the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) Awards in London.

Al Jazeera cannot be shut down and it will continue marching towards glory with the power of truth and power of millions of voiceless people who consider the channel their voice.