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Al-Jazeera not out to push Muslim agenda: MD

world Updated: Aug 06, 2007 21:03 IST

AFP
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Qatar-based international broadcaster Al-Jazeera is not out to push an Islamic agenda, aiming only to be a provider of alternative news coverage, its managing director Nigel Parsons said on Monday.

The Arab broadcaster, which launched a 24-hour English news channel last year, aims to provide "serious journalism" that goes beyond covering the hot topic of the moment, he said.

"Our job is certainly not to push a Muslim agenda," Parsons said at a business forum in Singapore.

"We do quite a lot of news out of (the) Middle East because we are headquartered there and it is the news hotspot," he said.

Parsons, a Briton who used to work for the BBC, said there is a gap in the way news is being covered by the mainstream media, dominated by western broadcasters like CNN and the BBC.

"We believe there is a demand for news that goes way beyond the hot topic of the day... Serious times require serious journalism," he said.

"We want to offer an alternative perspective, we want to allow you to see things from a different angle in the hope that you will get a more rounded picture of what's going on.

"As a channel, what we are trying to do is to report the concerns of ordinary people."

Based in Doha, Al-Jazeera has promised to provide an alternative perspective to international news channels base in Europe and the United States -- a claim welcomed by many Asian commentators and governments.

Al-Jazeera's Arabic service, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in November 2006, has revolutionised news media in the Arab world, but it has also provoked controversy.

It gained worldwide recognition mainly because of its broadcast of videotapes issued by Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and of Western hostages being held by militants.