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Al Jazeera Reporters Continue Work in Baghdad

BY Admin  April 4, 2003 at 12:00 PM EDT

The Arabic-language channel said in a statement, ”Al Jazeera welcomes the move by the Iraqi Information Ministry to reverse its decision and immediately relaunches the activity of its correspondents in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.”

Iraq’s Information Ministry had ordered reporters for the popular Qatar-based channel to stop reporting from Baghdad Wednesday night local time.

Officials told correspondent Tayseer Allouni to leave the country, and banned its Baghdad-based journalist, Diyar al-Omari, an Iraqi national, from reporting for Al Jazeera again.

The Iraqi government did not provide a reason for its moves to suspend the correspondents, Al Jazeera’s Washington D.C. bureau manager Stephanie Myers told the Online NewsHour on Thursday.

The network had reacted to the decision by telling its reporters to continue sending images of live events from Iraq, but to cease other reporting.

The satellite channel has faced heavy scrutiny in the United States and Britain for airing footage of dead U.S. and British troops and for its alleged pro-Iraqi stance.

The network referenced U.S. criticism in a posting on its English-language Web site after Thursday’s decision.

“Al Jazeera coverage had already been criticized by the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell for demonstrating a clear bias. It now seems the Iraqi Ministry of Information feels the exact opposite is true.”

Owned and partly funded by the Qatari government, Al Jazeera is the only international news organizations with correspondents remaining in besieged Iraq towns like Basra and Mosul. The channel has supplied many Western television news broadcasts with footage from those areas.