Saturday, September 06, 2003

Spanish Inquisition
Al-Jazeera’s high-profile correspondent, Taysir Alouni, has been arrested in Spain, allegedly for having contacts with members of Al-Qaeda, including members of a cell discovered in Spain. Al-Jazeera ran a story on the arrest on its website, and noted the move had “been met with condemnation by the media network and non-governmental organizations.”

More interesting, however, was this report on the arrest in the London-based Al-Hayat, which remarked that Syria (Alouni is Syrian) had warned the Spanish authorities of his “suspicious activities” and had been watching him for years, because it accused him of being a member of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood. According to Al-Hayat, Alouni has long been banned from entering Syria for that reason.

Is Alouni guilty? Who knows? If he’s not--and the Spanish accusation against him must be read before even thinking of imparting guilt--he certainly erred when it came to his journalistic credibility, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq. He may not deserve prison, but if Al-Jazeera really claims to represent something new in the Middle East, he deserves to at least be fired.

No comments: