Al Jazeera’s Hassan Ibrahim warns students to be wary of media law

By Saif Alnuweiri


Hassam Ibrahim taken from AMAinfo website

Arab nations would be better off without media laws,  said Hassan Ibrahim, a senior producer at Al-Jazeera International, the 24-hour English news and current affairs channel.  “When governments start talking about media laws, I get very worried” about issues of censorship and limits on coverage, he said.


Ibrahim, who has spent 30 years as a journalist in such hot spots as his native Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia,  made the remarks Monday to approximately 20 freshman journalism students at Northwestern University in Qatar.


“I think it’s very interesting how he mentioned that once a country starts setting up media laws, we should worry,” said Usama Alony, the son of an Al Jazeera correspondent under house arrest in Spain.  “I think it’s up to us to push the limits of these laws in order to achieve more journalistic freedom.”


“Journalism is about ruffling feathers and challenging [those in power],” said Ibrahim. “We need to challenge convention and be fanatics about the truth.  Without credibility, you are nothing.”


Ibrahim was one of stars of “Control Room,” a documentary about Al Jazeera’s coverage of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Before joining AlJazeera when it began in 1996, Ibrahim worked in the BBC Arabic Service.


He told students that the best way to get the information a journalist needs is by annoying whoever you’re asking until they give it to you.â€

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