Qatari government-owned Al Jazeera has published a sympathetic article reporting that unidentified social media users have complained about an alleged double standard In the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to Al Jazeera, there has been a “lack of such a reaction to other conflicts across the world”:
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues into a fourth day, an outpouring of support for Ukrainians has been witnessed across much of Europe, Australia, and the West in general. The war began on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to enter Ukraine, following months of a heavy military build-up on the border. The war has triggered swift condemnation by several countries, immediate sanctions by the United States and other countries targeting Russian banks, oil refineries, and military exports, and marathon emergency talks at the UN Security Council (UNSC). On social media, the speed of such an international response – which includes the exclusion of Russia from some cultural events and treatment of it as a pariah in sports – has raised eyebrows at the lack of such a reaction to other conflicts across the world. Media pundits, journalists, and political figures have been accused of double standards for using their outlets to not only commend Ukraine’s armed resistance to Russian troops, but also to underlying their horror at how such a conflict could happen to a “civilised” nation. CBS News senior correspondent in Kyiv Charlie D’Agata said on Friday: “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilised, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen.” His comments were met with derision and anger on social media, with many pointing out how his statements contributed to the further dehumanisation of non-white, non-European people suffering under a conflict within mainstream media.
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Examples provided of alleged Westerner hypocrisy generally centered on Middle Eastern conflicts, such as:
“Amazing mainstream Western media gives glowing coverage of people resisting invasion by making molotov cocktails,” one social media user remarked. “If they were brown people in Yemen or Palestine doing the same they would be labeled terrorists deserving US-Israeli or US-Saudi drone bombing.”
In September 2020, the US ordered Al Jazeera in the US to register as a foreign agent. According to the New York Times:
…the Justice Department said that AJ+, a network that primarily produces short videos for social media in English as well as Arabic, French and Spanish, engages in “political activities” on behalf of Qatar’s government.
Al Jazeera has also had a historic close relationship with the Global Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist network covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR). We reported earlier that elements of the Global Muslim Brotherhood appear to be attempting to shift the narrative on the Russian invasion of Ukraine to conflicts in the Middle East, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.