Al-Jazeera, a notorious broadcaster funded by Qatar has been often accused by its critics for promoting radical Islamists perspectives, Muslim Brotherhood, and having a pro-Sunni bias and an anti-Shia bias in its reporting of regional issues. Time and again, Al-Jazeera has proved its critic right. In India, Al-Jazeera does not enjoy a good image. It is infamous for peddling anti-India narrative and has been often accused of spreading Hinduphobia. Now, the Government of India has begun to crack down on this anti-India foreign media outlet. Indian government has withdrawn the security license of Al-Jazeera, without which the channel cannot broadcast in India. According to an ‘Economic Times’ report, the government has taken this decision after the broadcast of a documentary about militancy in Kashmir that was deemed as being biased.
This is not the first time that Al-Jazeera is facing the heat of the government’s action. In 2015 also, the Indian government banned the Al-Jazeera in April for five telecast days as it repeatedly displayed wrong maps of India. In the map showed by Al-Jazeera, a portion of Jammu and Kashmir was not shown as part of India. In some of the maps, the channel did not show Lakshadweep and Andaman Islands as Indian territories. The channel was suspended because it repeated the same offence again and again. The channel displayed a blank screen for five days with a message to this effect: “As instructed by the ministry of information and broadcasting, this channel will not be available from 00.01 hours on April 22 till 00.01hours on April 27, 2015.” This time Al-Jazeera committed another sinister offence leading to the government crack down on this controversial media news channel. Al-Jazeera has dedicated a separate page named- “Kashmir: The Forgotten Conflict”- where some anti-India commentators desperately tried to connect the problem to the Palestinian issue. Most of the stories on the page peddle anti-India agenda in a subtle way. The biasness is clearly evident as there are no stories from the other side of the border-Pakistan. Not even a single word on the protest launched against brutalities of Pak-Army on people of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Al-Jazeera more or less behaves like mouthpiece of Pakistan. On August 26, 2017, eight Indian security personnel lost their lives in a terrorist attack. But this is how Al-Jazeera reported the terrorist attack. The headline read, “Four policemen and four paramilitary personnel were killed as rebels stormed a police installation in the southern part of this disputed territory.” See the use of word rebel instead of terrorists. It is just one more example of its biased and anti-India reporting and pro-separatist and pro-terrorist stand.
Al-Jazeera’s biased reporting and pro-Pakistan stance is clearly evident in its reporting of terror attacks against India. In an article published on the second anniversary of Mumbai attack, Pakistan finds a mention in the following way: “The deadly rampage, which India has blamed on elements inside Pakistan, claimed 166 lives. About 300 people were injured in the incident.” Basically, Al-Jazeera is not agreeing that terror attack was carried out by Pakistani terrorists. In the article later on, Al-Jazeera writes: “Nine of the 10 gunmen were killed in clashes with security forces and the sole survivor, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was sentenced to death by a Mumbai court in May.” The terrorists have been mentioned as just gunmen. In the beginning of the article Al-Jazeera has used the word attacker and not terrorist for mentioning the Pakistani terrorists who launched deadly 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai. In another article titled ‘ISI link to Mumbai attack claimed’ the Al-Jazeera has again used the word attacker instead of terrorist. It writes, “The well-executed, three-day operation by 10 attackers included raids on two luxury hotels, a major train station and a Jewish outreach centre. More than 160 people died and hundreds more were wounded.”
Al-Jazeera’s support to radical Islamists is not hidden from anyone. In fact, they provide space to defenders of radical Islamists and terror preacher. In an article titled: “Zakir Naik: Why India wants to arrest the preacher”, notorious Zakir Naik has been referred as popular and again in the article terrorists who attacked a café in Bangladesh have been referred as gunmen. The article further says: “The Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded by imposing a five-year ban on the IRF under the country’s anti-terror laws.”
Al-Jazeera is nothing but Islamic propaganda machinery which paints a rosy picture of Islam and Islamists and shows other religions in bad light. It leaves no stone unturned to malign the image of India and Hindus. The government is rightly cracking down on such bigot media news channel.