Jehane Noujaim’s documentary Control Room offers a unique lens to examine the complex dynamics of international relations between East and West in the post-9/11 world. The film follows Al-Jazeera, one of the largest Arabic satellite television networks, as its reporters cover the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The movie brings to light many nuances of news reportage that were otherwise overlooked or suppressed by American mainstream media outlets.
Control Room provides an interesting juxtaposition between the objectivity typically associated with journalism and the patriotism associated with government propaganda. Through an inside look into Al Jazeera’s operations during this tumultuous time, Noujaim calls into question many of the prevalent perceptions surrounding press freedom and censorship in both America and abroad. She also sheds light on how audiences around the world are exposed to different versions of “the truth” and how those versions are shaped by their respective nations’ news providers.
The documentary interweaves interviews with American military information officers, Arab journalists, and American news producers in order to provide a comprehensive view of what happened on the ground during this period. With its starkly honest portrayal, Control Room serves as more than just a riveting account of history; it also serves as a reminder about how important it is for viewers to get both sides of any story before forming opinions based on one-sided accounts.
Drawing from personal experiences living within both worlds, Jehane Noujaim creates an exceptional work that will open your eyes to new perspectives while challenging preconceived notions of international relations. Control Room is an essential watch for anyone eager to better understand global events through a diverse array of lenses.