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22 November, 2005

Explosion of English channels

A steady trickle of media people has been leaking out of Dubai over the past few months and into Doha, with Al Jazeera English scalping whatever meagre talent it can find. With the channel paying fat, "old-style" salaries to many employees (allegedly $120,000 tax free + accommodation for bulletin producers) the defection is not surprising.

Not to be bettered by its Qatari rival, Saudi-owned-but-Dubai-based MBC is also planning an English news channel, MBC5, as well as an English news programme on its (Arabic) MBC flagship channel.

Just as long as they all keep themselves in line. With today's alarming news that cretinous US presidency-usurper Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera only last year, TV hacks across the Gulf will be bunkering down in their newsrooms.

Labels:

49 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

bush can eat my bush.
did u hear what he said during his visit to china. "if china opens the door just a crack, it can never be closed. guess what he was talking about?
no u pervert, DEMONACRACY.
what an illiterate foooool

22 November, 2005 18:36  
Blogger samuraisam said...

i find an accusation of illiteracy from someone who uses the term "u" an entertaining proposition.

22 November, 2005 18:51  
Blogger nonpretender said...

Provided they don't rehash and repackage what the useless GulfNews churns out on a daily basis..

22 November, 2005 18:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These allegations about Bush were originally published in the Mirror in the UK (www.mirror.co.uk), which is not the most highbrow of publications - however, the circumstances of the leaking of the memo appear authentic. Does anyone know if there is a copy of this memo on the internet? It would make fascinating reading, not to mention confirm all those rumours about the mental state of said President.

22 November, 2005 19:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, to post this here, but has flickr been banned again?

Jane

22 November, 2005 19:27  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Oh no - it looks like it might have been.

Just after I signed up for it for the metroblogging thing. FFS.

22 November, 2005 20:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you should do another post on it SD. they just keep backtracking on their decisions.

22 November, 2005 20:13  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Much as I loathe the proxy, I can see why they're blocking Flickr, given they have a blanket policy (if very unevenly and clumsily applied) against dating and networking sites.

Far more goes on at Flickr than simple photo sharing. I can't really describe here what someone showed me, as it is one of The Things That Shall Not Be Mentioned (and no, it's not pr0n, think along more regal lines) but after seeing it, I figured poor Flickr's days may be numbered again.

22 November, 2005 20:27  
Blogger moryarti said...

"allegedly $120,000 tax free + accommodation for bulletin producers" - where can I apply ? :)

22 November, 2005 20:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cant sd ban just tags. i have just paid out for my pro subscription. such a pain. will the new telecom operator be as stupid and when the hell will this happen?

why are you scared sd? you never used to be scared of speaking your mind. has something happened to you?

22 November, 2005 20:48  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Ever since I started blogging there have been several no-go topics, and one of them is any gossip about the private lives of the royal families.

So I'll speak my mind on most things, but there are certain things one just cannot touch upon here.

22 November, 2005 21:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see why they're blocking Flickr, given they have a blanket policy (if very unevenly and clumsily applied) against dating and networking sites.

Are you ready for Shaadi?

22 November, 2005 21:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with so many muslims in the west, you won't get away with anything

22 November, 2005 22:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are the other no go topics? is there a specific reason why flickr got banned? do you know what it is sd? code?

23 November, 2005 01:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why it is that the general pay of an jounalist is considerably lower(espcially when you think of how much risk you have to take) than that of bankers and lawyers. It really isn`t fair.

23 November, 2005 07:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to samuraisam, go decapitate ur head. i think everyone knows what u stands for and it's certainly NOT u.

23 November, 2005 07:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bolcking Flickr sucks!
do you think letters to 7days et al. might convince etishat to change their minds?
Is it worth a go or a waste of time?

23 November, 2005 09:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am intrigued by all of this. i would reckon that this is a temporary ban until etisalat are able to ban the 'problem' photos.

What would be nice of etisalat is if they could provid a page of pages that are obviously not porn but have been banned - and the reason that they have been banned.

but obviously, that would require a non uae degree education for someone to think about.

23 November, 2005 09:54  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

So, the Mirror (!!) prints a story about a leaked memo saying that Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera, it is reprinted all over the Middle East and swallowed as virtual fact by locals and expats alike before the ink has dried?

Little wonder that the Americans stand accused of not taking prevailing opinion in the Middle East seriously.

23 November, 2005 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buhooo! actually i blame europeans on what america has become today. you morons let the american taste the delicious colonizing meal..now you are pissed at them because they beat you in your own game...what a bunch of wankers

23 November, 2005 13:05  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Tim - from what I have read, UK officials aren't denying it but were trying to claim that Bush's remarks were "tongue in cheek" (but it's a pretty dumbfk thing to joke about).

However those that have access to the full transcripts, which hopefully will get printed soon, say there is no mistaking the serious tone.

Does it actually surprise you that he would say something like this? Because it doesn't surprise me at all. Look at Bush's current mindset, and US policy generally, it is easily this blind and this arrogant and this stupid to suggest such a plan.

And quite apart from Bush, there are plenty of Arab governments who would be happy to blitz Al Jaz.

23 November, 2005 13:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't they 'mistakenly' bomb one al jazeera station in afghanistan?

23 November, 2005 14:07  
Blogger A Yahya said...

'Little wonder that the Americans stand accused of not taking prevailing opinion in the Middle East seriously.'

The Mirrors credibility issues aside, all parties involved in this issue are taking the allegations seriously enough, suggesting that there could be as much smoke as there is fire on this issue.

23 November, 2005 14:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Granted these remarks may or may not be true, but Bush is defintely capable of making these remarks.

the frightening thing is that the 'world's most powerful man' could also be the world's dumbest man. I've yet to see a Western leader so devoid of intelligence. How did 150 million Americans vote for this imbecile .. a question that will haunt them for a long time !

23 November, 2005 14:15  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Does it actually surprise you that he would say something like this?

As anything more than a remark which nobody could take seriously, yes.

Look at Bush's current mindset, and US policy generally, it is easily this blind and this arrogant and this stupid to suggest such a plan.

On the contrary, I don't see US foreign policy to be arrogant or stupid, hence I am rather surprised. I mean, how exactly would he bomb a Qatar based press office? Simply fly a B-52 over it and hope nobody asked any questions? Consider the practicalities of this, and the fact that the US has been extremely wary of bombing a press office since it did so in Belgrade in 1999, and the entire thing sounds preposterous, as are most things associated with Bush which don't come from anything which could reasonably called hard evidence.

23 November, 2005 14:40  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

These comments are up there with the "God told me to invade Iraq! quotes which everybody also took seriously, and did not deny. Those of us who consider Bush to be something other than an imbecilic chimp tend to shake our heads in wonder at what point some people will actually question the authenticity of "proof" of Bush's supposed stupidity.

23 November, 2005 14:45  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

The Mirrors credibility issues aside, all parties involved in this issue are taking the allegations seriously enough, suggesting that there could be as much smoke as there is fire on this issue.

As far as I can see, the White House has dismissed it as preposterous and Downing Street is standing by its official policy of not commenting on leaks.

The only people taking it seriously seem to be opposition politicians and the anti-war press.

23 November, 2005 14:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, this story is now the lead in the Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1648590,00.html) so I think we can assume that there was a memo about this.

I think it's different from "God told me to invade Iraq" which is a post-facto rationalisation, rather than an intention to bomb downtown Doha, which he had to be talked out of by Blair!

The fact that the Brit Govt is taking legal action on this indicates that they are quite worried! Surely the full transcript of the memo must be on the internet *somewhere* by now?!

23 November, 2005 15:00  
Anonymous el condo said...

Tim, you don't need to shake your head at nothing.

"So, the Mirror (!!) prints a story about a leaked memo saying that Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera, it is reprinted all over the Middle East and swallowed as virtual fact by locals and expats alike before the ink has dried?"

I assure you there are enough Bush-haters around here to swallow ANYTHING said about him, as long as it's bad. When the "God told me to invade Iraq" story was published in City Times (of all papers!!) with a HUGE picture of Bush next to the statement in quotes and HUGE type, about 80% of the people in my office were running around horrified, waving the newspaper and crying out, "Have you seen this? Have you seen this? Have you seen this?"

SD has done some admirable work on this blog in raising some excellent issues, but when it comes to Bush, she's rather like those people in my office. The "in" word for it these days is "agenda".

Face it, she's human like the rest of us.

23 November, 2005 15:29  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I make no secret of the fact that I despise Bush, but this blog has no specific anti-Bush agenda, it's not about American politics but about life in the UAE.

I linked to this story because it was:

1. Relevant to the subject (Al Jazeera)
2. Shocking
3. Current (ie breaking news)

I would have linked to it just the same if it had been Hosni Mubarak or the King of Jordan in the memo, instead of Bush.

23 November, 2005 15:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD- when you got blocked did they contact you to say there were things you weren't allowed to blog about?

23 November, 2005 15:47  
Anonymous el condo said...

SD: you're upfront about not liking Bush, which is good. And I accept those 3 points. And hey, it's your own blog, you're allowed to have as much fun in it as you like (others do).

I wanted to make this other comment, but failed.

Regarding this:

"did u hear what he said during his visit to china. "if china opens the door just a crack, it can never be closed." (Speaking about Bush).

One cannot miss the derisive tone. I did see Bush on TV making this statement. Here's my view:

Not only is it spot on, it's likely to become historic.

Not because of anything America is about to do, but rather because of something too many governments and political systems have ignored too many times to their own peril: people power. When that power is coupled with new-found concepts of personal freedom and human dignity, the results are beyond anything we can have imagined.

And the fact is, China has already opened the door a crack. There's no closing it now.

23 November, 2005 16:04  
Blogger secretdubai said...

No. I have never been contacted in any official government way about this blog.

If they did contact me, I would publish their letter on this blog, or any other approaches they made to me, and most likely comply with what it ordered (as I'd have little choice or face prosecution/deportation).

23 November, 2005 16:05  
Anonymous willster said...

Mr Newman,

As SD says, this is about life in the UAE, let's not get into defending Bush's madness. You're in a tribe of one there, mate

23 November, 2005 16:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who wants to read about the private lives of UAE royals, any way? Is it really of that much interest?

23 November, 2005 16:09  
Blogger secretdubai said...

El Condo - SD: you're upfront about not liking Bush, which is good.

I'm probably far too upfront about many of the things I don't like, which isn't good!

;)

23 November, 2005 16:10  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

As SD says, this is about life in the UAE, let's not get into defending Bush's madness. You're in a tribe of one there, mate

If I was using this blog as a platform to defend "Bush's madness" (whatever that is), then I might be able to see where you are coming from.

But as things stand, I'll assume you're new to this blog and have therefore not realised that I comment on life in the UAE rather more than I comment on anything else.

23 November, 2005 16:22  
Anonymous willster said...

Tim,

Well apologies, but I'm certainly not new to this.....I'm now based back in the UK and Bush's plans for Al Jazeera certainly seme to have been taken very seriously by all the UK media. Now I'm getting on to Bush and off the subject of the UAE...... :-(

23 November, 2005 16:35  
Anonymous el condo said...

Just some speculation....

When the authorities here want to shut down something that's causing them embarrassment, they rarely do it "officially". It's more likely to be an "offer that cannot be refused" although it will be offered in a rather indirect, quite oblique way.

These guys are smooth, baby...

23 November, 2005 17:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, All UK newspapers have been threatened with being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they dare print any more from the memo, the two guys who leaked it are looking at 15 years for doing so.

The memo exists. That is a fact. Bush did say it. That is a fact, what is open to interpretation is how serious he was.

Now, a friend of mine (works for the Mirror) has seen the document and assures me that the transcript shows it was indeed a 'heated exchange'.

As for how it would be done, well it would be difficult, and at that early stage it is unlikely Bush would have thought about the logistics (especially as he didn't seem to have thought about the logistics of the entire war), but remember they've managed to 'accidentally' bomb Al Jazeera offices in Kabul and Baghdad (they were even given the co-ordinates of the Baghdad bureau to avoid such an incident)

23 November, 2005 17:22  
Blogger Jassim said...

I have to agree Tim Newman for perhaps the first and last time ever, but think about it. How stupid is the idea of bombing Doha, the city of one of the coalitions alies? How could they get away with launching an attack on Qatar because of one newstation.

With that said, we all know how stupid Bush is and he could of perhaps executed the attack under his 'Shoot 1st, ask questions 2nd' policy and used some spin aftewards about Bin Laden and WMD's afterwards.

He's such a fucking caveman thinking twat but i am not sure what that makes the people who voted him in TWICE are.

23 November, 2005 17:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local hero, I agree with your general point, but in fact Bush was *not* elected twice - the first time, the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount, which Gore was going to win, and the second time, the electronic "voting" machines in Ohio gave that state to Bush, even though exit polls gave it to Kerry (you can confirm this by doing detailed precinct searches, comparing the 2000 Gore win with the 2004 Bush "win" - an implausibly high 70/80% of "new" voters "voted" for Bush even though the state as a whole split almost 50/50).

23 November, 2005 19:01  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Local hero, I agree with your general point, but in fact Bush was *not* elected twice...

Now we're into the moonbat stuff. What was I saying about not taking Middle East opinions seriously?

If we're going to believe that Bush cheated his way to 2 elections, he's going to bomb a radio station in Qatar whilst basing his army from there, and that stories of leaked memos reported in anti-war papers constitute facts about what Bush said, then I'm afraid I must concede defeat and retire from the discussion.

23 November, 2005 19:18  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Have we recalled that not so long ago the
Mirror was hoaxed.

And Al Jazeera has been labeled a CIA front.

23 November, 2005 19:33  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Can we assume that Tim Newman and John B. Chilton are very clever pseudonyms?

23 November, 2005 20:02  
Anonymous el condo said...

Guys, guys.....it looks bad, but let's face it: Bush cheated his way into two successive terms. The American public was fooled, but we ain't that stupid. (And they believe they have a democracy!)

If you're gonna win, do it like Saddam did: 99% of the vote with 100% voter turnout. Now that's what I call a democratically elected president. (I wonder what became of the 1% that allegedly didn't vote for him. Or maybe they were just dimpled chads.)

24 November, 2005 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Technically Bush only cheated his way to his first term.

His re-election to his second term can be attributed to approximately 150 million Americans. smart bunch of people eh?

24 November, 2005 15:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

el condo is an idiot!

24 November, 2005 18:10  
Blogger No Secrets said...

bush gets what he wants
just wanted to find out if the bombing of Al Jazeera station in Iraq was at the same time .. Bush seems to really like freedom of speech ..just as long as it says what the neo-CONs want it to say ..
Just continue making money from the war on IRAQ and keep out of the news U inbread Clone of a Retard

10 December, 2005 18:04  

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