Khanfar in 2006
|Born||1969 (age 47â€“48)
|Occupation||President of Al Sharq Forum|
At times, some journalists see nothing in the people apart from an opportunity to make material gain. They see them as consumers to whom we sell commodities at huge profits that keep our bank accounts growing.
Al Jazeera is not a tool of revolution. We do not create revolutions. However, when something of that magnitude happens, we are at the center of the coverage.
We have Al Jazeera Arabic news, Al Jazeera English news, of course; we have three sports channels, and we have Al Jazeera Mubasher, which is a live channel that broadcasts live press conferences and symposiums and meetings. And, of course, we have Al Jazeera commentary in Arabic.
Because I was once a reporter, I've always felt a sense of estrangement inside the newsroom. The field is alive and interactive, while the newsroom is quiet and stereotypical.
The best people to provide valuable information about any society are the children of that society who belong to its culture and are part of its collective conscience.
The Arab spring that began in 2010 was driven by the educated youth who were connected to the outside world. They had visions of liberal politics derived from social networks. They used innovative means to spread awareness and to network among activists.
Al Jazeera is known in the Arab world as the voice of freedom of expression.
Some people call it the 'Al Jazeera spirit' – courage, re-thinking authority, giving a voice to the voiceless. We have never been favored by the authority. The human being is the center of our editorial policy. We are not a TV station that rushes after stars, big names, press conferences, hand-shake journalism.
We are not a TV station that only concentrate on those who are always under light. We are not a TV station for celebrities and for grand politicians and superstars. We are a TV station for the ordinary person. The normal people, ordinary people in the Arab world sees Al Jazeera as their voice.
At Al Jazeera, we are getting our local Somalis, Yemenis and Sudanese, local correspondents from within the society, who understand much better than the people who come from overseas. We will get a much better insight.
I think 2001 was the year Al Jazeera started to play an international role, in a way. Because in 2001, we were the only TV station located inside Kabul, and every image out of the war in Afghanistan, the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, came through Al Jazeera screen.
The international media concentrates on the famous, the big names. Al Jazeera goes to the margins, investigates stories that are still developing and in the future become very big. Why did the Arabic world love Al Jazeera? Everybody felt he was represented in the newsroom and on the screen. That kind of belonging is ours.
News is the backbone of our network; the main commodity and the main successes of Al Jazeera came out of our involvement in covering the news in the Middle East.
I started as an engineer. I migrated to philosophy and international politics. And I did my studies about African – Africa democracy and democratization in Africa, taking Kenya as a model. And then, while I was doing so in 1996 in South Africa, Al Jazeera was established. So they requested me to be an analyst on African affairs.
There is a very deep conviction in the heart of the people who work in al-Jazeera that if it changes its editorial line, it will very quickly lose its audience. Al-Jazeera has its own style; it has more than 3,500 employees, and I don't think anyone will have the attitude of changing it because they will lose.
Al Jazeera should understand the societies, should understand the culture of the civilisation, should understand the dynamics of the societies, should be part of this understanding; and on the other level, Al Jazeera should concentrate on the margin rather than the centre. It means that Al Jazeera should be close to the public.
When the Islamic revolution began in 1979 under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, it aroused considerable admiration in the Arab street. It presented a model of organised popular action that deposed one of the region's most tyrannical regimes. The people of the region discerned in this revolution new hope for freedom and change.
In 1996, Al Jazeera was the first TV station in the Arab world to allow Israelis to appear on the screen and express their views and address the Arab world. Before that, Arab broadcasters did not allow what was perceived as the enemy to appear on the screen.
Al Jazeera is a representation of, you know, diversity in the Arab world. In our newsroom, we have every single nationality, we have every single, you know, ideology, we have every single background. However, when it comes to the screen, we have one code of ethics and one code of conduct.
For me, Islam is a moral reference point, a source of inspiration to work collectively with people, to love people and to help them, to concentrate on universal values of mercy, co-operation and tolerance.
The Arab spring confirmed that peaceful change is possible and so reinforced the vision of political Islam. The impact of this went beyond the Brotherhood to include the Salafist tendency in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya that had questioned the democratic path.
What I like to call 'journalism of depth' is the media that regards the collective conscience of the masses to be its point of departure. It is the media that believes, as a matter of principle, in the potential capabilities of the people and respects their choices.
I do believe, given the heritage of Al Jazeera itself in Arabic and in English, I think Al Jazeera will succeed in introducing another perspective on the news that the American market is in need for.
Al Jazeera is the opinion of other opinion, independent. Al Jazeera is diverse, reflection of the collective mind of the nations and cultures and civilizations that we report from and we report to, bridge of dialogue. This is what Al Jazeera is all about. Al Jazeera is a mission.
I discovered that, in order to write a magnificent piece, you should shoot the images because once you are filming, you are writing the script in your mind.
If Al Jazeera America becomes just another mainstream TV station, it is definitely not going to succeed.
The Arab spring was not as radical as the French or Iranian revolutions. It did not pull out the deeply entrenched roots of the state. Instead, it was satisfied to replace the top of the pyramid with newly elected, but inexperienced, leaders.
The stability and security of authoritarian regimes cannot create but terrorism and violence and destruction. Let us accept the choice of the people. Let us not pick and choose who we would like to rule their future.
When an international news organization covers a story in Somalia, Yemen, Sudan or wherever, they will fly a crew to go there, spend a few days, interact with some officials and analysts, most of the time English-speaking elite, and file the story and go home.
I started, actually, as an analyst on African affairs, mainly on Al Jazeera. I remember the first few series were about Saudi students, and the negotiations between the government and the Sudanese rebels in the south. And then, slowly, I was speaking about Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and a few other places.