This article evaluates the high-profile accusations published on Wikileaks that Al-Jazeera was used as a diplomatic tool by Qatar, with the 2002-2007 Qatari-Saudi conflict serving as a case study. The analysis is aimed at revealing whether the conflict affected Al-Jazeera's coverage of Saudi affairs, specifically whether Al-Jazeera Arabic (N = 285) and Al-Jazeera English (N = 220) websites increased the volume of articles casting Saudi Arabia in a negative light and decreased the volume of articles casting Saudi Arabia in a positive light throughout the conflict, relative to the pre- and post-conflict periods. The analysis of Al-Jazeera Arabic reveals a very strong relationship between the tone towards Saudi affairs and timing relative to the Saudi-Qatari conflict (Ï‡2(14) = 101.57, Cramer's V = 0.42, p <.001), with a dramatic rise in articles criticizing Saudi Arabia for human rights violations and support of terrorism during the conflict. By contrast, the authors found no significant differences between the conflict and post-conflict coverage of Saudi affairs by Al-Jazeera English. The study indicates that the Al-Jazeera Arabic output was highly coordinated with Qatari interests, casting doubt on its claim of independence from Qatari interests.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations