How Qatar is using 'AJ+' and Al Jazeera to brainwash millennials minds.
Updated: May 16, 2021
The seemingly progressive, liberal and chic, AJ+ markets itself as a youth alternative to the mainstream media. AJ+/Al Jazeera has tens of millions of followers on social media and is the most watched news outlet on YouTube. A quick glance through its website and Facebook page will lead the viewer on a tour of indigenous rights activism, Syrian refugees suffering, climate change, women's rights issues and police brutality. Other trendy and fashionable causes championed by young human rights activists have also been taken up by AJ+ with the hope of attracting an impassioned, young audience. However, the average reader is unlikely to know what AJ+ denotes — Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera, which translates as "The Island", though referring to the Arabian Peninsula in context, is a news network which is fully funded by the government of Qatar and the House of Thani, the ruling family of the country.
Analysts claim that the channel functions primarily as a propaganda outlet for the Qatari government, and that it promotes Islamist perspectives, most notably those of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Jazeera's English-language social media channel, AJ+, is externally very liberal and human-rights-oriented. This is bizarre, since it is funded by the Qatari government, which is not a bastion of human rights nor a beacon of democracy. It's quite the opposite actually. The channel uses its liberal appearance to attract young people and subtly introduce them to the Qatari government’s agenda, without actually mentioning Qatar’s own human rights problems, and its medieval regime. What's more they cover events happening in the middle east in places like Turkey, Syria and Israel, or events in Europe or in the US not in a professional journalistic way, but only in a propagandistic, one sided and biased view.
In case people didn't know, Qatar is an intolerant, medieval, religious monarchy where freedom of religion and free speech don't exist. In Qatar, flogging is used as a punishment for alcohol consumption or illicit sexual relations. Spousal rape is legal. Stoning to death Gay people and people who are suspected of Apostasy is still a form of capital punishment. Qatari women are treated as second class citizens. Gays and atheists are persecuted by the state. According to human rights groups Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution. Qatar is also a destination country for women who migrate for employment purposes and become involved in prostitution; some of these women may be runaway domestic workers whom traffickers force into prostitution, exploiting their illegal status. In Qatar you can literally buy slaves, both women and men, while AJ+ goes on on feminism and human rights.
What you won't see on AJ+ or Al Jazeera, protests against Qatar's modern day slavery.
Qatar has also been accused of supporting and funding terroris groups like ISIS. The leaders of Iraq and Egypt have also accused Qatar of links to terrorism. In March 2014, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of supporting ISIS insurgents fighting in western Iraq. Conversely, support for ISIS appears high among Qatari Facebook and Twitter users, according to a 2014 study. The study analyzed pro-ISIS and anti-ISIS posts of countries outside the so-called Islamic State and found that 47 percent of the posts in Qatar collected between July and October 2014 expressed pro-ISIS sentiments. In 2014, the U.S. government has sanctioned several Qatari nationals for reportedly facilitating the financing of terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.
But of course all of this does not stop AJ+ and Al Jazerra in English to preach about "human rights", feminism, and against racism and extremism in western democracies. Just as RT (Russia’s English language "news" channel formerly called Russia Today) seeks to cultivate ties to American and western audiences in order to expand Putin’s propaganda infrastructure by brodcasting pro Russian and anti western/American propaganda around the clock, Qatar is doing is doing the same only they try to reach a bigger, younger, and more influential audience: young westerners with liberal/progressive values, namely millennials. But what AJ+ does most successfully is to whitewash Qatar and its propaganda channel, Al Jazeera, by associating that country and news brand with trendy, liberal and progressive ideas.