Al-Jazeera is pushing at BBC door
Sir David Frost,broadcaster-friend of the great and the good, may have seen the future and it is Al-Jazeera Interantional.So here’s the new script.When you switch to watching Ai-Jazeera Internationaltelevision sometime early next year for your daily fix of impartial world news, consider this salient argument it is but the BBC by another name , only it is the BBC of the 21st century.
Arguably, the youthful and often misunderstood Al-Jazeera ‘s newest baby returns global broadcasting to the Corporation’s primordial impulse, to be vox populi, telling the real,unvarnished truth,distilled from the greatest numberand told to the biggest number.Al-Jazeera ,of course was born in the bowels of the BBC’s west London Television Centre after the corporation’s trail-blazing but ill-funded Arabic TV channel folded and left hordes of superbly-trained journalists without a joband no way to pay the bills.
The impression that Al-Jazeera is pushing at the BBC’s door is heightened by the revelation that Frost, doyen of that conundrum celebrity cuddly,cutting edge TV has defected There seems no other way to describe the astonishing announcement that Frost has hitched himself perchance , even his bandwagon to the Arab world’s nine-year-old broadcasting phenomenon than to say it is a defection ,But considering he had been relieved of his duties by BBC domestic television earlier this year and was not regularly employed by any other British, European or Western broadcaster,it may be hard to see the logic of the description of Frost’s sideways move to another television channel.
No matter That is the way an appalled West would view it.And make no mistake .
It is a defection .A migration From one world view to another ,From one comfortably, fatly-entrenched internationalist Western byword for broadcasting to an aspirational Arab-funded one that bears the troubling nickname Osama bin Laden’s mouthpiece
It is todiscern the outline of the brilliant strategy that has led Al-Jazeera to recruit Frost and some of the better known names in the Western press,political and punditry business .These include Mark Seddon, a respected long-term ,fully paid-up member of Britain’s governing Labor Party. Seddon, who was formerly elected on to Labor’s National Executive Committee, has also edited the left-wing magazine Tribune ,Now, he leaves Britain’s grey skies for New York ,where
He will rejoice in becoming Al-Jazeera International’s first United Nations correspondent.
Though much is made of the Qatar-headquartered channels’ name ,which is Arabic for Island , Frost and Seddon will not be isolated Brits on a brave new frontier.
In fact ,they will manifestly not be allowed to miss the sound of British accents and attitudes in their new organization , ITV’s former director of news, Steve Clark, former ITV senior editor John Pullman and former BBC News executive Pual Gibbs , have also gone over to Al-Jazeera .The channel’s managing director is Briton Nigel Parsons. Lauren Booth half sister of Cherie ,wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, has also indicated her coming Al-Jazeera avatar.
These high-profile ,exceedingly expensive signings may be testimony to Al-Jazeera ‘s driving passion to overturn that hoary old joke what’s the one word that describes Arab public relations? An oxymoron .Some would say Al-Jazeera International which Frost describes as the first and perhaps the only brand new international television news network for the 21st century is the TV equivalent of Salman Rushdie.It is not ,in Rushdie’s memorable phrase ,the empire writing back , but the empire reporting back to the natives.,