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Al Jazeera: The World Through Arab Eyes

Interviewer: Jonathan Masters, CFR Associate Staff Writer
Interviewee: Abderrahim Foukara, Washington, DC, Bureau Chief for al-Jazeera Arabic
February 17, 2011

The al-Jazeera satellite network, which has been instrumental in covering the protests in the Arab world, is garnering increasing attention for the depth and breadth of its coverage and the integral role it has served in fomenting the events. For some observers (ForeignPolicy), al-Jazeera, or "the island" in Arabic, has become part of the story. Abderrahim Foukara, the Washington, DC, bureau chief for al-Jazeera Arabic, characterizes the network as "a channel that sees the world through Arab eyes." He says the network had its beginnings as an upstart alternative to the region's state-owned media and has grown into its current position as the channel offering the broadest coverage of the Arab-Muslim world. "In terms of acute crisis, a channel like al-Jazeera imposes its presence." In light of President Barack Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo, Foukara notes that the new administration recognizes the significance of the network in the president's campaign to improve relations with the region. He concludes by suggesting that the region's youthful demographics offer the United States a prime opportunity to promote its values and cultivate the spirit of human enterprise.

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