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Al Jazeera English’s Managing Director responds to the Israeli Ambassador to Washington

For a country that claims to be democratic and respect the freedom of press, Israel's ambassador to Washington DC should not downplay the cold-blooded murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

There is a long-established expression in newsrooms around the world which says if a journalist does his or her job well they will very likely be criticised for it. 

Why? Because that journalism discovered the true story. Good reporting should uncover stories, not just cover them.  It should dig for the truth, and cover and challenge all relevant sides of all stories. 

So often politicians, governments, and corporations want their narrative to be believed.  The truth is sometimes inconvenient.  Sometimes the true story is actually the opposite of what they want people to believe.  Journalists should exist to shine a light into those hidden corners, to ensure people get the full and real picture, and are properly informed.

So, in response to the statements made by Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to America who attacked us for double standards in our reporting of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, I'd suggest he actually watches our coverage in order to get the full picture.

Ron Dermer's argument is that we are in some way partial, and led by an agenda.  He suggests it is somehow wrong that we covered the murder of one man at the same time as thousands of civilians are dying in the war in Yemen and in Syria. He went on to claim Al Jazeera is "pressing hard to ruin relationships with Saudi Arabia".

Watch our coverage, Mr Dermer. It's available for you and everyone else to see.  All of our coverage throughout our long history of reporting from all over the world is online and ready to be seen.  You will see extensive reporting of the tragedy unfolding in Yemen.  Comprehensive coverage throughout the long years of the Syrian conflict. You will see that our coverage of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is comprehensive and balanced.  And you will see extensive reporting of the diplomatic crisis in The Gulf - with all relevant sides of that story represented.

By any definition the cold-blooded murder of a prominent journalist in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey is a huge story. It is the starkest challenge to freedom of speech you can imagine, and a personal tragedy for the family of man who was respected in Washington DC, and whose work was trusted by his readers in all corners of the globe.  We covered the story in full, providing context and background where necessary. We had no agenda. Like all the other mainstream media worldwide, this was a huge story which rightfully resonated with all media companies.

 We have also covered Yemen and Syria since those conflicts began - despite our network being banned by those countries from operating freely there. And, we have covered every twist and turn of the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf fully, always upholding balance in our reporting, despite the fact that Al Jazeera itself was front and centre of the crisis at the beginning when Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt called for our closure in an effort to silence one of the only pillars of press freedom headquartered in the Arab world.
We take our responsibilities as journalists very seriously. We are responsible to those people we cover in all corners of the globe.  We are responsible to everyone that consumes our content. We are held to account every second of every day by people worldwide who turn to us because they want to be informed - with reliable and quality content.  We are deeply proud of our reporting. We are no one’s spokesperson.  And we are on no one's side.  We have an editorial board which ensures our independence from the State of Qatar, and every journalist that works for us believes passionately in responsible reporting.  We continue to win awards worldwide for our work.

We were the first Arabic channel to give voice to Israeli politicians by inviting them on our air.  We have a major bureau in Jerusalem covering all sides of stories in Israel and Palestine.  And we cover all other countries and regions of the world with the same impartiality and dedication.
Whatever agendas other people or governments have, we will not bow to their pressure.  We have been subject to attack many times during our 22 year history. Our staff have been attacked, imprisoned, and some tragically paying the ultimate price while carrying out their responsibilities as journalists. Our bureaux have been bombed to try to silence us.  And, as with this recent verbal attack by Ron Dermer, we continue to be criticised by people who are striving for their own narrative to be believed.

So, my message to Mr Dermer is watch us before making incorrect accusations. You will see the full picture when you do.

Giles Trendle

Managing Director

Al Jazeera English Channel