During the three years of rivalry prior to this reconciliation, the Saudi and Qatari news stations had transformed into chief confrontation fields between the two Gulf countries. The news around the whole world was presented on their two screens through the lens of this rivalry. The scenes in the Gulf in relation to their position on Israel, as well as Egyptian, Lebanese and Iraqi news updates were all also portrayed in light of this opposition. On top of that, how the Muslim Brotherhood is depicted, their distance from the Syrian regime, and relations with Tehran, were all also themes that varied depending on the tension between the two countries.
The true origins of this conflict were never really disclosed to the public, but it is more than likely correlated with nothing more than the moods and personal characters of the rulers.
This mysterious reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will definitely affect the content displayed on the two media powerhouses. Nowadays those viewing are greeted with the Emir of Qatar waving and smiling at them on the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel, while also not finding a trace of the image of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the Qatari Al-Jazeera (who had prior to this become Al-Jazeera’s icon). Slowly we will be witnessing a sort of gradual withdrawal from the two channels’ other “central” issues, which is in no way a positive outcome in the long run.
Professionalism and journalistic ethics appear to be the last concern on the agendas of those two channels, and they seem to also have set aside their dedication to political solutions in the Arab region. These regimes’ power tactics often bleed into structures like the media, transforming its objectives into fuel for their whims instead of objective reporting and truth seeking.
The Al-Jazeera campaign that was covering the process of normalization with Israel that both the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are partaking in, will soon find itself confronting a dead end; and this will come after the Qatari station had abused its team’s energy on the project, and spent all this time demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Still, there is a lesson that could be learned from this reconciliation, within the context of the paradox it has created, which is to understand the underlying layers of politics when it comes to the two channels. Although in some cases their reporting appears on the surface to be pure, there was always some kind of political implication behind it. Saudi women should not be referring their cause to Al-Jazeera when they’re being persecuted by the authorities of their country, and the opponents of Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not resort to Al Arabiya to raise their voices. This could be detrimental to their cause, as these channels were never invested in finding justice for them in the first place, and on top of that they might simply lose their access in light of a sudden reconciliation.