With some days to go to the 25th anniversary of the invasion of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) by Argentine forces on 2nd April 1982 and even longer to the anniversary of their liberation by British forces, the journalistic invasion of the archipelago continues to grow with each of the weekly arrivals of the LAN flight from Santiago, Chile or the British Forces air bridge direct from leafy Oxfordshire, in England.
Interest in these anniversaries from Britain and Argentina is understandable and this week has seen film and TV teams from both countries. Among them have been a British/Falkland Islands team led by Graham Bound, author of Falkland Islanders At War, filming for the History Channel, an Argentine TV team with prominent presenter, writer and political commentator, Jorge Lanata and representatives of several media organs including Gente magazine and Canal Siete. Perhaps less immediately understandable is the interest being shown by other foreign media ÃÂ¢€" currently there are in the Islands reporters from both French and Spanish TV , with a Dutch journalist also expected ÃÂ¢€" but what has raised a few eyebrows is the impending presence next Saturday of a team from Al Jazeera, previously, perhaps most associated with its controversial reporting of the Arab response to the terrorist attacks by on the World Trade Centre, which included video messages from Osama bin Laden. In fact, Al Jazeera, which was started in 1996 with a US$150 million grant from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa is now a global communications giant and its English language service, Al Jazeera English, has made its own headlines by recruiting to its ranks from the BBC, ITV and CNN some of their most famous broadcasters. Recent recruits to Al Jazeera English's constellation of media stars include Sir David Frost, Riz Khan, Veronica Pedrosa, Stephen Cole and Rage Omar. In view of the accusations of terrorist support against Al Jazeera made in the past by the U.S. Government, perhaps the most eyebrow-raising appointment made by the channel was that of former U.S. Marine Josh Rushing in September 2005. According to the Al Jazeera web site, Rushing was a press officer for the United States Central Command during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, and in that role had been featured in the documentary "Control Room." Rushing is quoted as commenting on his appointment to Al Jazeera "In a time when American media has become so nationalized, I'm excited about joining an organization that truly wants to be a source of global information..." He now works from Al Jazeera's Washington, DC broadcasting centre.John Fowler (MercoPress) Stanley
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