World media: 9/11 coverage waning

Andrew Timson, 7, etches the name of his late uncle Andrew Fisher during ceremonies marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2012.
Image caption The events of 9/11 still resonate across the globe

Media coverage of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks suggests that the event is entering the pages of history, with coverage - even in the US - low-key.

However, the significance of the event to Afghanistan and the Middle East was evident from the volume of comment, although other stories were generally higher on the news agenda.

Middle East

The main Pan-Arab broadcasters all but ignored the event, save for a brief mention on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya deep into its morning bulletin, but the Arab press mostly agreed that Washington had used the attacks as a pretext to execute an aggressive foreign policy.

Pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat asked whether the 9/11 era had ended. It noted that 9/11 had "changed the face of the whole world" and urged those who felt that the significance of the attacks had waned in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring to "wake up".

However, Jordan's Al-Arab al-Yawm believed the US was using the attacks as a "scarecrow to frighten Americans", adding that the "war on terror" was a US-Israeli ploy to launch "real destructive wars against several Middle East fronts".

Egypt's Al-Ahram said US policy on the Middle East since 9/11 had destroyed Arab states' confidence in Washington which is seen to be "arranging the ladder of its priorities towards the Middle East according to Israel's interests".

Dubai's Khaleej Times said that although the US had successfully prevented further attacks since 9/11, it had failed to make the world a safer place.

"One thing is for sure, the way the world is going right now, it seems like 9/11 will be highly relevant, even 11 years later," it concluded.


Media comment here focused on Washington's response to the attacks, although opinion differed on how the US invasion had affected Afghanistan.

The independent Cheragh newspaper said the threat of global jihad was spreading, not receding. "The presence of terrorism has even expanded into the depths of Africa and south of Asia," it complained.

The Daily Afghanistan agreed that the Taliban continued to pose a "serious challenge" to the current Afghan government, which, it said, had "fallen in a corruption quagmire".

By contrast, the pro-government daily Weesa lashed out at Washington.

"Just as the 9/11 attacks were a tyrannical meaningless massacre, the US horror and massacre of civilians in retaliation were much more atrocious crimes, and unfortunately are still going on," it said

However, former MP Mohammad Taher Hashemi told independent TV Tolo News that the US invasion had brought some form of democracy to the country, and "prepared the ground for the USA and the Western world to succeed in the war against terrorism."


Very little coverage of the anniversary was observed in the Pakistani media, with the story not mentioned on the websites of most of the leading newspapers or TV morning bulletins.

The day before, English-language daily Dawn said Bin-Laden's "toxic ideology continues to delude young Muslims around the globe". On the anniversary itself, it noted that: "the passage of time appears to have cooled public attention to September 11".

In India, public broadcaster Doordarshan News' website remarked that the low-key events planned in the US to mark the anniversary "reflect a gradual dampening of passions around the emotional day." While, the NDTV website reported on a "growing feeling" in the US "that it may be time to move on".


The tone of Iranian coverage of the anniversary was set by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who spoke of a disparity in media portrayals of the 9/11 attacks and Washington's response.

This view was echoed by Iranian state radio which questioned the veracity of America's account of events. The attacks were described as a "Hollywood-like and suspicious scenario" and a "pretext" for US attacks on other states.

State news channel IRINN TV said Washington had "exaggerated" the threats posed in the aftermath of the incident. And English-language Press TV offered significant coverage of the anniversary, noting that "many believe that the whole incident was an inside job".

Conservative daily Hemayat accused Washington of practically starting "a war against Muslims at international level" and of bringing about "11 years of anti-Islamism and Islamophobia".

And the Siyasat-e Ruz newspaper said that the US itself had committed "many 11 Septembers" of its own since 2001, listing the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as action on Libya and Syria as examples.


The Chinese media was pre-occupied by an ongoing territorial row with Japan. One commentary on the anniversary by Zhang Quan in Shanghai's Jiefang Ribao said "the US 'security equation' is still oriented for its own interests".

It added that "many countries, including China, are the victims of this irrational hegemonic logic and imbalanced international order. Take the US strategic shift eastward for example. It has disturbed the waters in China's surrounding regions and stirred up trouble and unease".

Russia's state-owned Rossiya 24 marked the occasion with a slideshow of images from the attack, accompanied by solemn music and no comment.

But Gazprom-owned NTV carried a report on how Manhattan had been "brought back to life". It contained an interview with a New Yorker who remarked that "9/11 is becoming history".

BBC Monitoringreports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here

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