Abderrahim Foukara was born and raised in Morocco, but later settled in the United Kingdom, where he completed a PhD before joining the BBC World Service in 1990. In 2001, Foukara moved to Washington DC where he continued to report for the BBC in London before finally joining Al-Jazeera in the Summer of 2002 as a Washington-based reporter. Early in 2003, he moved to New York where he ran the Al-Jazeera United Nations office. He is currently head of Al-Jazeera’s United States operations in Washington, D.C.
At the Clinton School, Abderahim Foukara, managing editor of Al Jazeera Arabic News, discusses the Qatari-based network that reaches 50 million viewers worldwide. Foukara forcefully defends Al-Jazeera’s news coverage, stating that unlike other global media networks, Al-Jazeera gives foreign leaders like President Bush and Condoleezza Rice the opportunity to speak directly to Arab people. While Al-Jazeera has come under fire by politicians and news commentators in the United States because of airing video tapes from Al-Qaeda, Foukara says that such baseless claims do a great disservice to Arab-U.S. relations. When asked if Al-Jazeera was biased against the United States, Foukara said that Al-Jazeera “knows its audience,” and it has to present content that “they want to see.” But he also claims that it is the job of the media to challenge the government when it is doing something wrong, which he says Al-Jazeera has done consistently. For this reason, Al-Jazeera has been banned or shut down in several Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq.