Mehdi Hasan
Mehdi Hasan

ISRAEL’S aggression against Gaza has split the journalistic community worldwide, but US media seems particularly torn. In a development that has shaken the industry, prominent MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan was suspended alongside two of his Muslim colleagues; Ayman Mohieddine, and Ali Velshi.

But although the US network denied any intention to sideline these presenters, Arab News carried a report saying that it had spoken to two sources closely involved with the network’s decision, who confirmed the suspension.

One source indicated that there is a considerable level of uncertainty about what happens next, comparing the situation to the post-9/11 era’s “you are either with us or against us” rhetoric.

While Mr Velshi continues to report from the field on other shows, he is no longer hosting the programme he used to.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Israel’s communications minister stirred a hornet’s nest when he suggested that Al Jazeera’s local bureau should be shut down. According to Reuters, the minister accused the Qatari news station of incitement in favour of Hamas and of exposing Israeli soldiers to undue risk.

There was no immediate comment from Al Jazeera or the Qatari government regarding this development. In addition, Reuters called on the Israeli forces to conduct a thorough, swift and transparent investigation into the death of Issam Abdallah, a video journalist for the agency who was killed by Israeli firing on the Lebanon border.

In a statement on Saturday, “It is critically important for journalists to be able to report freely and safely”, it added.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2023

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