Iraq Bans Al-Jazeera
by Chris Bowers, Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 08:17:19 AM EDT
Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said the government convened an independent commission a month ago to monitor Al-Jazeera's daily coverage "to see what kind of violence they are advocating, inciting hatred and problems and racial tension."
Based on the commission's finding, the National Security Committee ordered the monthlong closure, Allawi said.
Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station "a chance to readjust their policy against Iraq."(...)
During a July 25 interview with Al-Jazeera in Moscow, interim Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused the channel of biased reporting and implied its journalists could be barred from the country.
"We do not tolerate those who exploit the freedom of the media," Zebari said then. "These channels have become channels for provocation against the interest, security and safety of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government will not be lenient toward such behavior."Of course, since Al-Jazeera is the only Arabic-language news channel in the area where you could have a debate about whether or not it is biased, the representatives of the same Iraqi government that banned the network were willing to be interviewed on it. Obviously, Iraq is still working out that freedom of the press thing.
I guess bombing Al-Jazeera was not enough. At the same time, I wonder if there will be any repercussions for journalists who ran the bogus beheading story. Oh yeah, I don't want to incite violence or anything, but people are still dying in Iraq.