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Friday, January 28, 2022

Does this ‘pro-Saudi image’ reflect an Al Jazeera editorial change?


An image shared online by Al Jazeera Documentary has prompted social media users to question whether the Qatar-based outlet has changed its editorial line on Saudi Arabia.

One of the many Al Jazeera Network social media accounts have prompted questions and jokes after posting a “positive” image of Saudi Arabia just moments after Doha and Riyadh buried the hatchet with the signing of a historic declaration.

The image, which showcased Saudi Arabia’s “progress” in developing the capital city Riyadh, was widely perceived to reflect Al Jazeera’s sudden change in tone towards the Saudi kingdom in light of the rapprochement.

Social media users were quick to mock the alleged change in editorial line.

“How quick was this,” one Twitter user says.

“At least wait till the summit finishes!,” another user says.

While the posting of the image may seem timely, an Al Jazeera source told Doha News it was part of a series of pictures to document cities from across the Gulf region and was not linked to Tuesday’s political developments.

“Al Jazeera is an independent media outlet and these images are not reflective of its editorial line on the latest developments in the region,” the senior source told Doha News.

“The images shared by Al Jazeera Documentary accounts are part of a wider series that was unfortunately posted by staff members at the wrong time,” the source added.

Imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017, the blockade on Qatar triggered what soon became the worst GCC crisis since 2014.

However, borders that were deserted for more than three years resumed services on Tuesday as Qatar’s flag carrier soared through Saudi skies following the lifting of an embargo on Qatar.

Read also: Road trips, Mecca and memes: How social media users reacted to Qatari-Saudi breakthrough

The breakthrough, which was solidified with an official signing of the Al-Ula Declaration at the GCC summit on Tuesday, has been welcomed by world leaders and diplomats alike.

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