Book review: How arguably the best news channel challenged the world

“Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World” by Hugh Miles

The US accuses them to be anti-American, while the Arabs accuse them to be pro-American. Israel claims that they are negatively bias at the Israeli government, while the Palestinians complain about their apologetic tone on Israel. The US forces bombed their bureau in Afghanistan during the Afghan invasion, while some of their journalists have been kidnapped and tortured. It is the only network that Osama Bin Laden trusts, while reluctantly the US is also relying to (and almost desperately trying to control) the network.

Their groundbreaking talk shows changed the socio-cultural context of the Arab world, breaking barriers, and discussing things previously considered taboo. Offended and feeling fundamentally being attacked, a lot of highlighted Arab countries threaten to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, the owner of the network, over and over again. Such is the boldness and the magnitude of the influence Al Jazeera has, in providing nothing but the truth and the balanced arguments that comes with it.

This is a very essential book on the fascinating story of Al Jazeera, from the difficulties of starting the network to their struggles and near-collapse experiences, from their first ever media triumph to breaking the ranks of the world’s top global media.

Written between the story of Al Jazeera, lies a very important knowledge in understanding the vital role of media in a war, the politics in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the viewers, and the very rough journey Al Jazeera had to go through in defending their principle of providing a fair chance to every side, and ultimately providing the truth. This is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read.

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