Date: Thursday, 04 July 2019
Al-Jazeera English TV channel has ratcheted up its smear and defamation campaigns against Eritrea these days. The stats tell it all: Inside Story ran three programmes in the past month alone; Al-Jazeera’s AJ-Stream has also chipped in to broadcast 2 programmes of vitriol in the same period.
Why? What is behind this frantic campaign?
In all these instances, Al-Jazeera has invited rabid regime-change “foreign experts” and Eritrean quislings; some of them involved in criminal human trafficking rackets. Al-Jazeera has also teamed up with Amnesty International in its latest programmes. The latter has been caught red-handed in 2012 when it tried to infiltrate some of its members into Eritrea to advance, what it called the agenda and “cause of regime change”.
This week, AI went further to issue a malicious and libelous report that accuses Eritrean youth abroad “of waging a campaign of intimidation” against so-called human rights activists. AI’s sources: the same culprits, who have in fact been and are openly, advocating for violence and assassinations in Eritrea and in the Diaspora.
To dwell on the contents of Al-Jazeera’s ludicrous recent broadcasts is pointless and a waste of time. Indeed, all these programmes invariably revolve on recycling, ad nauseam, the same fabricated lies by the same disgruntled elements.
Critical dimensions of the smear campaign that must be broached at this juncture are the underlying motives and specific timing.
The pretentious veneer aside, Al-Jazeera is not, indeed, an independent TV channel. Its well-known sponsors have deep pockets and the Channel has, virtually, no editorial autonomy. Al-Jazeera’s central mission in fact seems confined to sheepishly project the “soft-power” of its sponsors. This is clearly discernible in the regional agendas it seeks to influence.
In this respect, recent developments and trends in the Horn are not moving in the direction its sponsors had banked on.
• Broadly speaking, Moslem Brotherhood influence in the region has been waning in several countries where all its affiliated political groups had substantial presence before. Closer ties of cooperation and consultation between the Horn of Africa countries will likely reduce external interferences that are aimed at advancing sectarian agendas that undermine societal harmony, and peace and stability in the region.
• Recent strategic re-alignments also do not bode well for those with myopic perspectives, limited sphere of influence, and fledgling regional credibility. The Horn of Africa seeks genuine partners and honest brokers for stable peace. Long gone are the days of sowing discord in the region, and using Eritrea as the scapegoat.
• A third factor is Eritrea’s growing prominence in international forums and widely acknowledged contribution to regional stability and security. In this regard, Eritrea’s election to the UN Human Rights Council has evidently frustrated their decade-long campaign to cast the country as “a pariah State” and thereby encourage and instigate unwarranted intervention to plunge the country into perpetual chaos.
In the event, Al Jazeera’s futile attempts to disparage Eritrea will not diminish Eritrea’s critical role in the region. It will only further corrode Al-Jezeera’s relevance and credibility.