Wednesday, November 01, 2006

from the DG

Indeed, we have reached a watershed moment in the history of the Al-Jazeera Network.
Our coverage of the recent Lebanon War has been the best war coverage yet by a News Channel, building on our reputation for honest, courageous, fair, balanced, and independent journalism. To all those involved, well done! I urge you to continue to strive for journalistic and organisational excellence.

Further, the impending launch of Al-Jazeera English, poses significant opportunities. Firstly, as a channel, the opportunity to fill a gaping schism in the media industry on a global scale. The world is looking for an unbiased, independent media network, rooted in the South, and this is what we aspire to provide. With fearless, innovative journalism we will give a voice to the unheard, and uphold the values of tolerance, democracy and liberty.

Secondly, as journalists, the opportunity is presented to return to the purity of this most noble profession. We can be a bastion of truth, reporting with integrity, fairness, and independence. A bastion of hope, giving a voice to the unheard. A bastion of respect for the individual, giving the viewer the “opinion and the other opinion”, analyzing every aspect of every issue and putting the news into the context of the human being.

The choice of grabbing these opportunities lie in our hands. I give you my assurance that we are working hard to mould the Al Jazeera Network into a highly efficient organisation.
On the 1 November 2006, Al Jazeera will celebrate ten years of pioneering journalism, and a unique spirit…the Al Jazeera Spirit. The Al Jazeera spirit is about questioning the deep seated beliefs and values that are held about people, cultures, and conflicts. The Al Jazeera spirit is about constantly questioning and enhancing the journalistic norms and standards that become status quo. An Al Jazeera journalist cannot be unbiased if he or she holds deep seated beliefs that he or she is unwilling to change. An Al Jazeera journalist cannot be truthful, if he or she is unwilling to investigate all the facts with an open mind. An Al Jazeera journalist cannot respect the individual if he or she puts forward just one angle of the story.

Al Jazeera now employs people from over 50 nationalities. Over the past few weeks our Management Team worked closely together to develop a draft Mission Statement and Code of Ethics for the Network, that reflects this diversity as well as holds true to the core values of Journalism that is free from economic and political pressures. It is attached for your convenience. The final version, I believe, should emerge out of a consensus from all of you, Al Jazeera’s valued employees. I am confident that the strength of this diversity, experience and expertise will shine through in your feedback.

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