Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) today released the following statement regarding the recent unauthorized distribution of a draft U.S. version of “The Lobby”:
“We are dismayed at the recent, unauthorized publication of a draft version of the U.S. documentary, ‘The Lobby,’ by a third party. All of Al Jazeera’s newsgathering meets our high journalistic standards and our commitment to fact-based reporting. Still, it is very disappointing to find work that we have not released circulating outside of Al Jazeera.
“Our investigative journalism unit worked on two series, one in the U.K. and one in the U.S., that examined how various groups coordinate to influence British and American policy toward Israel. The U.K. version was called ‘The Lobby’ and it aired in January 2017; the U.S. documentary was not completed, aired or released, but instead a working draft of the piece was released by a third party without authorization.
“The U.K. series was widely recognized as an excellent piece of investigative journalism that managed to uncover wrong-doing on the part of two government officials – one foreign and one from the U.K. – both of whom have since resigned. The U.K. broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, previously reviewed the U.K. version of the ‘The Lobby’ and swiftly dismissed any claims of bias or improper reporting practices.
“The U.S. series was undertaken in keeping with our high journalistic standards and commitment to fact-based reporting that guided the U.K. series, and which guides all of our newsgathering efforts.
With The Lobby (US) Al Jazeera's editorial board had previously decided that further work was needed on the film to ensure it met our rigorous standards, and to ensure it was fair to all the different groups that were subjects of the investigation.
Every film produced and aired on Al Jazeera is subject to the highest editorial standards of accuracy, objectivity, balance, and pubic interest.
Our award-winning journalism that has won Emmys, Peabody’s, Roosevelt and many other awards, employs the same reporting techniques as those used by investigative journalists all over the world, including major news programs and networks in the U.S.
“While our uncompromising pursuit of the truth means that, at times, we will be criticized by those who prefer certain facts to remain in the dark, we stand fully behind our reporting. The Network’s full body of programming clearly demonstrates its commitment to gathering diverse perspectives, in keeping with our mission to present many angles of an issue accurately, objectively and impartially to help viewers form their own views.
“We take pride in the fact that Al Jazeera was the first Arab broadcaster to bring multiple perspectives to the Arab world including those from Israelis. Al Jazeera is accredited before the Knesset and maintains a bureau in Jerusalem where we employ four Israelis, two Palestinians and one American. Meanwhile, prominent Israeli politicians and generals, such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have appeared on our channels.”