A top ex-manager with the Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel says the network has become a weapon in the hands of Qatari officials for furthering their policies, Press TV reports.
“Al-Jazeera has lost its feel for what the Arab public wants to hear,” former Al-Jazeera Media Relations Manager Jihad Ballout said in an exclusive interview with Press TV.
“With the advent of what is considered to be the Arab Spring, Al-Jazeera has gone through a great change from the flag bearer of objective journalism to what many people and many observers consider to be a policy or foreign politics-led news organization,” he added.
Ballout said changes occurring at Al-Jazeera were “subtle” and did not happen overnight, adding that the departure from professional journalism was especially noticeable in the network’s coverage of events in Libya, Bahrain, and Syria.
“I think the breaking point or the watershed was after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. I think after that, subtle changes were taking place and since that date you see a lot of well-known names have either left or were pushed over. But actually it came very, very obviously only recently,” the former Al-Jazeera manager said.
It is widely believed that the Emir of Qatar has a direct influence on the nature of programs broadcast on Al-Jazeera.
The Qatari-based network's biased policy towards Bahrain and Syria has caused dispute among the news network workers.
Many employees at bureaus across the world including Lebanon have left their jobs over Al-Jazeera's biased stance against the Syrian government and in favor of the Bahraini regime. The latest person to quit was a key managing director.