Saturday, August 07, 2004

Good News: Iraqi Govt. Bans Al-Jazeera for One Month!

FINALLY!

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi government has decided to close the Baghdad offices of the pan-Arab television station Al-Jazeera for 30 days, the government said Saturday.

Al-Jazeera was not given a reason for the closure, said Jihad Ballout, the network’s spokesman.

“It is a regrettable decision, but Al-Jazeera will endeavor to cover the situation in Iraq as best as we can within the constraints,” he said.

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s spokesman Georges Sada confirmed the one-month closure, but did not elaborate.

Government ministers have recently been critical of the television station.

During a July 25 interview with Al-Jazeera in Moscow, interim Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused the channel of tilted reporting and implied its journalists could be barred from the country.

Zebari described the network’s coverage as “one-sided,” and also condemned the reporting of several other Arab stations.

“We do not tolerate those who exploited 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.”


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A bit more:

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."

"They have been showing a lot of crimes and criminals on TV, and they transfer a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis and encourage criminals to increase their activities," he said.

"We want to protect our people."



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For anyone who reads German, here's an interesting article from Der Spiegel called "Moores vereinfachte Welt" -- "Moore's Simplified World" -- in which Moore is taken apart by Matthias Gebauer. It's encouraging to see a voice of reason coming from Deutschland, often characterized as a country that has adopted Moore as their own simply because he hates Americans so much.

Menschen, die an Fakten interessiert sind, lesen dafür dicke Untersuchungsberichte von Kommissionen oder lange Leitartikel. Menschen, die lieber gut unterhalten werden wollen, schauen Michael Moore. So hat jeder seine eigene Welt.

Fast and Loose Translation:

People who are interested in the facts read the hefty Commission Reports and other longer pieces. People who want to be entertained watch Moore. Each group gets their own world.

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