Saturday, 10 January 2015

'I am not Charlie', say journalists in leaked Al Jazeera emails.............

The attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7 might have caused spontaneous reactions of horror and solidarity with the 12 killed, but not everyone was rushing to chant "Je Suis Charlie" (I Am Charlie). Leaked Al Jazeeraemails have revealed how the incident also exposed the challenges of deep cultural and religious schisms in global newsrooms. 
The National Review Online has published details of an email reportedly sent by Al Jazeera English editor and executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr which reads, “Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however    illegitimate [sic]—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you.” 
Khadr also questioned if the story was really about an "attack on free speech", suggesting that portraying it as “a clash of extremist fringes” would be more appropriate. 
The email set off a series of heated responses, with some arguing why it was important not to bow down to the agenda of murderers to others hitting back that they denounced the heinous killings but they didn't agree with the magazine's history of mocking sacred religious icons. 
“What Charlie Hebdo did was not free speech it was an abuse of free speech in my opinion, go back to the cartoons and have a look at them! It’ snot [sic] about what the drawing said, it was about how they said it. I condemn those heinous killings, but I’M NOT CHARLIE,” Al Jazeera reporter Mohamed Vall Salem wrote in an email response. 
While Al Jazeera has been accused of having an anti-West position in the past, the network had reportedly tried to balance the situation by hiring more Western correspondents in subsequent years. But if the leaked emails are anything to go by, the complete cohesion between the journalists belonging to different cultures might be harder to come by. 
Below is the series of Al Jazeera emails and responses that the Charlie Hebdo incident triggered, as reported by the National Review Online