Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ghassan Bin Jiddu: resigns from Aljazeera

This is big: the Beirut bureau chief for Aljazeera, Ghassan Bin Jiddu, who hosts the program Hiwar Maftuh (widely watched), has submitted his resignation.  It is due to the recent radical shift of Aljazeera's coverage in alliance with the Saudi-Israeli alliance in the Middle East.  Ghassan Bin Jiddu is one of the most visible personalities of the network and he was seriously considered to be the director-general of the network before Waddah Khanfar was given the job.  Ghassan belongs to the Arab nationalist mold and is a fierce supporter of resistance to Israel.  I last saw him last year when he invited me to dinner with Samir Al-Quntar.  Bin Jiddu was very influential in Aljazeera and this step will bring further embarrassment to the network.  On a related note, I must report this:  I have heard from a number of people who work in Aljazeera Arabic and English and I am hearing that the majority are quite irate at the coverage of the network especially in relation to the Bahrain issue.  There will be marked changes in Arab media in the next months and years: comrade Hicham yesterday observed that Egyptian media in the new era will once again play the leading role that it had played in the 19th and 20th century, before the Sadat-Mubarak era.