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Ae Marika: Al Jazeera films them coming down

CNN films them going up, Al Jazeera films them coming down

Last week I flew to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for an interview on Al Jazeera Television, about the recent police terrorism raids in Tuhoe, and their impact on Maori society. I, Tracy McKintosh, a sociology lecturer from Auckland, and Ron Mark from NZ First were invited to go. Tracy and I went and Ron Mark decided to do his by video-link from NZ.

Al Jazeera introduced the programme with their own backgrounder on the raids and then interviewed us for the next 45 minutes.

You can see the programme on SKY channel 89 or Freeview channel 21 tonight (Tuesday) at 11.30pm or you can see it on the internet from November 29 at http://english.aljazeera.net/ I won’t comment on the interview – watch it yourself and make up your own mind.

Is Al Jazeera pro-Maori? Actually, I thought the programme was more balanced than a lot of the local TV – probably because their perspective is independent of NZ politics.

Al Jazeera is an international television news service just like CNN. It is funded by an Emir from the Middle East, their head office is in Dohar, and they’ve got satellite studios in London, Washington and Kuala Lumpur.

Quite clearly their perspective is not that of CNN, but then why would it be? Their aim is to show the world through a different lens.

Biased? Yes, it is probably more Middle Eastern in its view, but it’s only after you’ve seen Al Jazeera that you realise just how pro-American CNN really is. One media commentator told me that the difference between CNN and Al Jazeera was that “CNN films the missiles being fired from American bases and Al Jazeera films those missiles exploding in Middle Eastern communities” – a simple but powerful analogy that was easy to understand.


White Ribbon and the whanau

I also took part in a march in Waitakere against domestic violence, along with Mayor Bob Harvey, Inga Tuigamala and Dr Pita Sharples. Bashing the missus and the kids is a serious problem all over the country, and every step we take to reduce the devastating effects of that violence has to be commended.

Which brings me on to my last little item. I also attended a wonderful, free, whanau day in Henderson on the weekend. Excellent stuff, and I’ve asked the organizers (my whanau actually) to see if they can take their event on tour, because good positive family-focussed activities help everyone see just how much beauty and talent we have to offer.


ENDS

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