Ms. Adi Soffer Teeni, VP & GM Israel – Meta via:
Re: Lack of Transparency in Facebook regarding Al Jazeera Pages
In 2020, Facebook commendably increased transparency by adding a “State-Controlled media” label to pages and posts published by media outlets controlled by governments, including media outlets controlled by the governments of Russia, China and Iran.
However, inexplicably, pages and posts belonging to Al-Jazeera media network, which is controlled by the government of Qatar, are NOT marked by Facebook.
Facebook defines "state-controlled media" as media which “may be partially or wholly under the editorial control of their government”. Al-Jazeera is clearly partially or wholly under the editorial control of the Qatari government and should therefore be labelled by Facebook.
Freedom House has expressed concerns about freedom of press in Qatar and reported that “All journalists in Qatar practice a degree of self-censorship” while confirming the Qatari’s government funding of Al-Jazeera.
There is ample evidence that contradicts Al-Jazeera's claims below, and proves that the Qatari government does influence its content, for instance in a report submitted by a group of US Senators.
Al-Jazeera's claim, that while the Qatari government funds the Al Jazeera channel, it is journalistically independent, similar to the BBC which is funded by the British government, is false.
-Unlike the BBC which regularly covers and criticizes its government and every UK Prime Minister, Al Jazeera cannot critically report on the Emir of Qatar or other Qatari leaders and their decisions.
-The chairman of the board of Al Jazeera is a member of the ruling family in Qatar, which allows the ruling family to influence editorial decisions at Al Jazeera, as detailed in an additional report from law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
-Al Jazeera does not provide transparency or accountability regarding its journalistic decisions.
-All journalists in Qatar practice a degree of self-censorship and face possible prison terms for defamation and other journalistic offenses
-Leaked memos from Qatar contradict Al Jazeera's claim that it is independent and prove that the Qatari government used the channel as a bargaining chip in negotiations with other countries.
-Cases of interference in the editing of reports by Al Jazeera in order to highlight the rulers of Qatar have been reported in the British press.
A full list of independent reports detailing Qatar’s government control of Al Jazeera is provided in Appendix A.
Facebook announced that the “State-controlled media” labelling was added to “help people better understand who’s behind the news they see on Facebook” and to add “protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate”. However Facebook failing to label Al-Jazeera Facebook pages, which are following by approximately 75,000,000 people has the opposite effect on a large group of Facebook users.
In light of the above, Facebook’s current practice of NOT labelling Al Jazeera pages and posts as “State-Controlled media” is discriminatory and misleads Facebook viewers to believe that Al Jazeera is an editorially independent media organization, which is untrue.
I urge you to add the “State-Controlled media” label immediately to all pages linked to Al-Jazeera, as listed in Appendix B.
Shai Glick, CEO, B’Tsalmo – Human Rights in the Jewish Spirit
Appendix A – Independent reports confirming Qatar’s government control of Al Jazeera
Appendix B – Al Jazeera linked Facebook Pages
Al Jazeera English https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
Al Jazeera PR https://www.facebook.com/AlJazeeraPR
قناة الجزيرة مباشر - Aljazeera Mubasher Channel https://www.facebook.com/ajmubashe
Al Jazeera Channel - قناة الجزيرة https://www.facebook.com/aljazeerachannel
هنا الجزيرة https://www.facebook.com/HonaAljazeera
الجزيرة – تأملات https://www.facebook.com/AJTaamulat/
Al Jazeera Balkans https://www.facebook.com/AJBalkans
Israeli Minister of Communications, Israeli Minister of Justice
Shai Glick heads B'Tsalmo, an organization protecting Jewish Human Rights.