Thursday, October 08, 2009

Saban to Buy al-Jazeera?

Egyptian-born, Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban has reportedly put in a bid to buy half of the popular Arab television network, al-Jazeera. Iranian mouthpiece Press TV has also picked up the story, albeit unsurprisingly playing up the "sleazy Jew" and "Israeli propogandist" angle (Saban has moved considerably right-ward in recent years, but still is predominantly affiliated with Labor in Israel and the Democrats in the US).

In all seriousness -- while I doubt that al-Jazeera can maintain credibility with the Arab world while having an Israeli owner, there is a tiny, tiny sliver of me that hopes instead that this would help build a bridge of understanding, rather than a simple flight of fancy. Unfortunately, I don't know what changes, if any Saban would institute at the network (which could be anything from an uncritical line to the Israeli government -- which I doubt -- to a renewed focus on cross-cultural dialogue and understanding), and I do know that agencies like Press TV and their ideological allies will work to insure that any green shoots that do develop from this project are crushed under a torrent of "the Zionists control the media!" rhetoric.

Via Norm.

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