David Frost joins Al Jazeera

Deborah Solomon interviews David Frost in the New York Times Magazine:

12q4_1Q: As one of the most respected television journalists in Great Britain, why have you decided to take a job as an interviewer for an enterprise as freighted with controversy as Al Jazeera International, the new 24-hour English-language, Arab-owned news station that is scheduled to begin broadcasting in May?

Al Jazeera International is completely separate from Al Jazeera Arabic.

Aren’t they both owned by the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani?

The ownership is the same. Absolutely. He’s very liberal. He has friends in the American administration who no doubt try to persuade him to tone down Al Jazeera Arabic. But I think when viewers watch Al Jazeera International, they will be closer to watching CNN.

Not really. Its founder has specifically stated that it will differ from CNN or the BBC by offering an Arab perspective on world events. Which may explain why when Ted Koppel was recently offered a job in the Washington bureau of Al Jazeera International, he said he thought about it for about 38 seconds before turning the offer down.

We in the West have been broadcasting our views to the non-Western parts of the world for many years. It is only fair that these non-Western areas should have the chance to return the compliment.

More here.