UK’s Ofcom rejects complaint against Qatar’s Al Jazeera


ex-Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

Regulator dismisses claim from ex-Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat over unfair broadcast

British communications regulator Ofcom rejected a complaint from ex-Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat that Al Jazeera had treated him unfairly in its Palestine Papers documentary series broadcast earlier this year that led to his resignation.

The Qatari news channel published a flood of confidential documents in January on which the documentary was based, showing that the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority had offered multiple concessions to Israel in peace talks.

The revelations made the Palestinian Authority and Fatah look weak and led to the resignation of Erekat, then chief Palestinian negotiator, who accused Al Jazeera of trying to bring down the Palestinian Authority.

Erekat complained to Ofcom that the documentary had deliberately omitted important contextual information, had portrayed him unfairly in dramatic reconstructions of negotiation meetings, and had infringed his privacy.

On Monday, Ofcom said in a statement that Al Jazeera English had not treated Erekat unfairly, nor had there been any unwarranted infringement of his privacy.

“Dr Erekat was given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to allegations in the programme,” it said.

“Even to the extent that Dr Erekat’s… expectations of privacy were engaged, Ofcom took the view that the public interest outweighed this expectation and considered that the obtaining and use of the material was warranted.”

Ofcom has jurisdiction over Al Jazeera English broadcast in Britain. Had it found in Erekat’s favour, Ofcom could have forced Al Jazeera to broadcast a summary of the watchdog’s findings in the case, imposed a fine, or in the last resort revoked its UK licence.

Al Jazeera, whose audience numbers rocketed during the Arab Spring, caused a storm of protests in January when it leaked hundreds of confidential minutes documenting more than a decade of peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The revelations deepened the divisions between Palestinians in Gaza, run by the Islamist group Hamas, and the occupied West Bank, which is run by Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

On Monday, Al Jazeera’s director general Ahmad bin Jasem Al Thani said in a statement: “We recognise that presenting this volume of information was bold for a television channel.”

“However, the worldwide positive reaction to the series, and this latest judgment, shows that we handled it in an informative and responsible manner.”



Share this post Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Related posts

Should a Sample of Customers Decide the Fate of Local Food Producing Businesses in the UK?

Should a Sample of Customers Decide the Fate of Local Food Producing Businesses in the UK?

Should a Sample of Customers Decide the Fate of Local Food Producing Businesses in the UK?  By Iqbal Tamimi   Being a supporter of local businesses for ethical and environmental reasons, and a veteran journalist who covered hundreds of promotional campaigns while working in...

المفوضية الأوروبية تهدد ايطاليا باتحاذ اجراءات تأديبية ضدها

هددت المفوضية الأوروبية إيطاليا باتخاذ إجراءات تأديبية ضدها بسبب ارتفاع الدين العام للبلاد. حذرت بروكسل من أن إيطاليا قد تواجه غرامة بقيمة 3.5 مليار يورو بسبب خطط الإنفاق الطموحة التي تقوم بها لخفض ضريبة الدخل ، وإصلاح نظام المعاشات التقاعدية ، وإدخال حد أدنى مضمون للأجور - مما يضيف إلى ديون...

Do you wear an apron or a cape? Indian women can help you to chose

Do you wear an apron or a cape? Indian women can help you to chose

Arab women, especially in the Gulf region, do not know much about Indian women except the disadvantaged poor ones who were forced to work in their homes under hellish conditions. I admire Indian women, especially many smart ones I met during my work and travels, too many that I can't...

Leave a comment