Al Jazeera is the opinion of other opinion, independent. Al Jazeera is diverse, reflection of the collective mind of the nations and cultures and civilizations that we report from and we report to, bridge of dialogue. This is what Al Jazeera is all about. Al Jazeera is a mission.
Al Jazeera should understand the societies, should understand the culture of the civilisation, should understand the dynamics of the societies, should be part of this understanding; and on the other level, Al Jazeera should concentrate on the margin rather than the centre. It means that Al Jazeera should be close to the public.
In 1996, Al Jazeera was the first TV station in the Arab world to allow Israelis to appear on the screen and express their views and address the Arab world. Before that, Arab broadcasters did not allow what was perceived as the enemy to appear on the screen.
I do believe, given the heritage of Al Jazeera itself in Arabic and in English, I think Al Jazeera will succeed in introducing another perspective on the news that the American market is in need for.
I started as an engineer. I migrated to philosophy and international politics. And I did my studies about African – Africa democracy and democratization in Africa, taking Kenya as a model. And then, while I was doing so in 1996 in South Africa, Al Jazeera was established. So they requested me to be an analyst on African affairs.
Some people call it the ‘Al Jazeera spirit’ – courage, re-thinking authority, giving a voice to the voiceless. We have never been favored by the authority. The human being is the center of our editorial policy. We are not a TV station that rushes after stars, big names, press conferences, hand-shake journalism.
The Arab spring that began in 2010 was driven by the educated youth who were connected to the outside world. They had visions of liberal politics derived from social networks. They used innovative means to spread awareness and to network among activists.
At Al Jazeera, we are getting our local Somalis, Yemenis and Sudanese, local correspondents from within the society, who understand much better than the people who come from overseas. We will get a much better insight.
I discovered that, in order to write a magnificent piece, you should shoot the images because once you are filming, you are writing the script in your mind.
For me, Islam is a moral reference point, a source of inspiration to work collectively with people, to love people and to help them, to concentrate on universal values of mercy, co-operation and tolerance.