Media Coverage Of Western Sahara Conflict

 in our life were we told that we should have known better than say, act and behave one way or another after we said, acted or behaved in certain way? 

We were also told that if we knew what  you were going to say, act and behave, we should have coached you as to what to say, how to act and behave when you are going to an interview on US national TV.

Nowadays, it seems like everyone is an expert. Everyone is dashing their free advice after the fact when the interview of Morocco's UN Ambassador with CNN is aired on national TV. While the interview was over and done with, the free advice was pouring from all sides. This is understandable because the issue of the Western Sahara is in the mind of most Moroccans.

The Perfectionists amongst us would have wanted the interview to go their way, the Score Keepers would have wanted it to go another way, the Nay Sayers would have wanted it to go in no way. Some have even alluded to a theory which they have tested when dealing with female journalists which is fail proof in reaching the perception they want to convey in an interview when dealing with a women interviewer. I can continue on and on.

I say to all of these after the fact free advisors: Where were you with your constructive advice prior to the interview. We all know that the Western Sahara issue for the Moroccan people transcends all differences between us may they be generational, educational, political etc…All of you could have reached by phone or email Mr. Loulitchki and give him your positive advice as to how to deal with interviewers working for the US national media and especially if they are women. I am sure he would have welcomed the advice.

No one should question the relevancy of the interview between a polite and reserved Ambassador and the fierce Amanpour who seems to give the impression that her main concern is her show rating and media ranking. Amanpour should not be blamed for her interview tactics.  She was doing her job as a member of a media in the United States that is more interested in scoring points. After all, Miss Amanpour has been changing jobs going from one news media organization to the other and back to the other. She had to protect her image of being tough in her interviews in dealing with sensitive issues to please not only her professional ego, but also her director, sponsors and in this instance the Algerian lobby in Washington DC and the "Spanish Matador" who is by no means El Cordobes, El Viti or Paco Camino or shall I call him Don Quixote.

But being tough and being ethical in one’s job performance is like a thin line between right and wrong. But in this situation both Miss Amanpour and Ambassador Loulitchki have been criticized.

I wonder where Miss Amanpour was when the Late President Sadat of Egypt stated in his speech at a lunch which I attended as a reporter which was offered on his behalf at the National Press Club where he said: “the Media in the United States is the fourth pillar branch of the United States Government after the Executive, Legislative and the Judicial branches. It is the watch dog which through its unabashed sense of fairness and irreproachable ethics keeps the other 3 branches on the right path”

There use to be a free and unbiased media in the United States but politics, ideology and money have co-opted, usurped and corrupted the US Media. Remember the role of the US Media during war in Iraq? Fortunately the latest political impasse in the US is forcing a conscience awakening (a prise de conscience) on the media to play its honorable role once again and break the US Government political stalemate between the Executive branch and the two other branches by calling a spade a spade in a fair and just manner.

Miss Amanpour should play her role as a neutral reporter and rectify the misperceptions she created in her interview with Ambassador Loulitchki. She should go to Layoune, Dakhla and Tindouf and why not Rabat and Algiers and have direct free hand to see and interview in her fiercely way whomever she likes and report freely on her finding. This type of action will not only honor US reporting a la late President Sadat, a man of peace, but will also allow Miss Amanpour’s requests for future interviews with Arab and Moslem leaders to be welcomed with open arms. Everyone is watching how her interview of Ambassador Loulitchki got her entangled in this 35 year Moroccan-Algerian conflict.  Everyone is also watching how her next move in rectifying the shots about the political antagonism between Morocco and Algeria over the Western Sahara issue in a fair approach will get her out of this self inflicted quagmire.

I am positive that most of  would like Miss Amanpour to do part 2 of her reporting on the Western Sahara, free of that Spanish "Rigolo", so that she can continue to be believable and respectable in our part of the world where unbiased reporting is needed.          

M. CHTAINI

18/04/2013