Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cablegate : Wadeh Khanfar resigns

Wadeh Khanfar, the Palestinian director general of Al Jazeera Network resigned today after 8 years of being a top executive in the channel. Khanfar sent a farewell email to the AL Jazeera staff earlier today announcing his resignation wishing them good luck praising their role in making Al Jazeera an international icon.
Khanfar also spread the news on his official  twitter account before anyone does.

After 8 years of service leading Al Jazeera, I have just announced that I am moving on.Tue Sep 20 12:39:07 via Seesmic for iPhone
Despite Khanfar made it clear in his farewell that the he though of stepping down for quite some time now , many link his resignation to the recent cables released by Wikileaks about his meetings with U.S state of Defense Department intelligence agency “DIA” officers in Doha in 2005.
Cable ref.id : #05DOHA1765 shows that there was a meeting allegedly held on October 19th ,2005 between the managing director of Al Jazeera Network then Khanfar and the DIA officers who did not like the performance of the Al Jazeera.Net website content and believed it was hostile against the U.S government. The officers had monthly reports with the performance of the channel and the website. Allegedly Khanfar promised them to tune down the language and remove the pieces they complained from
As expected the cable raised many questions in one of the most controversial topics in the Middle East : The Al Jazeera American relations !! Needless to say all those who hate Al Jazeera found the cable as the smoking gun to prove that Al Jazeera channel is an American conspiracy to destabilize the Middle East !!
Of course knowing how his resignation will be linked to the cable , Khanfar addressed the matter indirectly on twitter .
Entertained by all the rumors of why I have resigned. #whatdoyouthink? :-)Tue Sep 20 17:11:09 via Twitterrific for Mac
Here is a list of cables related to Khanfar in general.
Looking in his career one must be impressive , starting as Al Jazeera correspondent in Africa from 1996 then in Afghanistan to replace Tayseer Allouni after his capture as a correspondent then a bureau chief then Baghdad bureau chief after the fall of Saddam’s regime to became the General manager of Al Jazeera in 2003 then the Director general of Al Jazeera Network.
Being the director general of Al Jazeera Network in this young age made Forbes considered him from the world’s most powerful men in 2009 “Ranked :54”
There were many criticism as usual to the channel and to Khanfar in particular. Many people accused him of supporting Islamists over other powers in the Arab world in the channel. Of course it was noticeable that many Egyptian reporters and correspondents left Al Jazeera in his time like Hafez El Mirazi , Yosri Fouda and Hussein Abdel Ghanay.
Speaking about Egyptians in Al Jazeera Network Assad Taha has commented about the resignation diplomatically in twitter asking Khanfar not to pay attention to insults.

@khanfarw أتفقنا وأختلفنا وكان الإحترام دوما سيد الموقف لا تأبه للإساءةTue Sep 20 13:17:28 via web
Taha defended Khanfar and denied the allegations that he turned Al Jazeera in to a center to Islamists despite their differences.
Al Jazeera is still making headline for sure , this comes after one week of closing Al Jazeera Mubshar Misr.
Update : 

  • Wadeh Khanfar spoke on Al Jazeera from short time ago about his resignation which he clearly did not give a good reason for it yet he addressed the Wikileaks cable thing. Khanfar said that people ignored all the cables his names is mentioned and only picked this cable. He did not deny meeting foreign officials and representatives from different governments but he deny having any relation with any intelligence agency. 
  • Dear Amira from Global Voice made a post about the reactions on twitter regarding his resignation including speculations about he resigned. 

1 comment:

  1. We should never forget the crucial role that Al Jazeera played during the Egyptian revolution, providing us with an oasis of highly-professional news coverage at a time when all other networks were busily propagating lies and fabrications.

    Even before that, I used to describe Al Jazeera Arabic as the most courageous and most professional and intelligent of all international news networks, by far.

    But, especially after the uprising in Bahrain, when the Gulf monarchies began to panic and close ranks, something terrible happened to Al Jazeera. Many of their best programs, the ones that promoted debate between articulate proponents of opposite views, were cancelled.

    Some of their most widely-respected journalists resigned, including Hafez al-Miraghi, because they were censored. Al Jazeera applied a hypocritical, shameful double standard in its coverage of human and civil rights in Arab monarchies on the one hand, and of Arab republics on the other.

    Then, especially last spring, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr was gradually becoming the Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood propaganda channel. No issue was covered or debated unless a Salafist or MB spokesman was promoted and given a disproportionate platform to provide his view, regardless of its relevance, or of how representative of public opinion.

    Finally, on May 27, Al Jazeera officially lost all credibility when it described the demonstrators that day as numbering "around 30,000", in line with the Muslim Brotherhood's lying propaganda. I was there that day, and the numbers could not have been less than 500,000, and were probably many more. Thank God Nawara Negm was there, covering it for TahrirTV, and she filmed the massive crowds that covered the Medan and beyond, from the top of a tall building.

    I totally oppose the closing of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr on principle, but at the same time, for me and for many others who love Egypt and wholly embrace the values of the revolution, Al Jazeera's standards and performance were deeply saddening and frustrating.

    Unfortunately, the reasons for the network's decline will not go away with Khanfar's resignation. They are related to geopolitical shifts (including the closing of ranks between the Gulf monarchies, the US and Israel, and also of the media they control) compared to which Khanfar or his replacement are insignificant.

    Unfortunately, the revolution to liberate Arab people from the chains that are strangling them will have to struggle on in the face of numerous betrayals and a formidable enemy determined to defeat it.


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