Reacting to the development Al-Jazeera said today it would continue
to cover the war on Iraq. The Qatar-based station had earlier said
that none of its eight correspondents would report from Iraq after
the Iraqi authorities expelled a colleague and asked another reporter
to stop working.
Al-Jazeera however said during a news bulletin on Thursday that
it would continue to broadcast live and taped events - including
news conferences by Iraqi officials and air strikes on Iraqi cities
- without any commentary.
The network said the Iraqi authorities gave no reason for its decision.
CNN's reporters were also expelled from Baghdad last week. The Guardian
has however, reported that Al-Jazeera drew the ire of the Baghdad
establishment after its reporters tried to interview Iraqi citizens
away from the "supervision" of government minders.
Meanwhile, hacked off the Internet by "patriotic" Americans, Al-Jazeera
said on Wednesday it was launching a new service to send its news
to mobile phones.
It will beam news alerts in both Arabic and English to mobile phones
around the world. An al-Jazeera spokesman said the new mobile service
that launched on Wednesday would be available in 130 countries.
Al-Jazeera is the only international network with correspondents
in the southern city of Basra and the northern city of Mosul. It
is one of the most widely watched networks in the Arab world, with
at least 35 million viewers.
The network, which has been criticised by the United States and
Britain for airing pictures of slain US and British troops, said
the Iraqi Information Ministry had asked its correspondent Tayseer
Alouni to leave the country and another reporter, Diyar al-Omari
in Baghdad, to remain off air.
Alouni gained international renown for covering the US-led war
on Afghanistan for eight-year-old Al-Jazeera, which made its name
by airing statements by Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda members
after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Alouni was one of a few international correspondents allowed to
operate under the Taliban.
Many Arab viewers regard the network's Iraq war coverage as more
comprehensive and balanced than Western media reports.
US and British officials, however, say its coverage is biased.
And toeing the US establishment line and gald to do its "patriotic
chore" is the New York Stock Exchange which has banned two Al-jazeera
business correspondents from reporting from the because of its so-called
Asked by UK's Radio 5 Live to respond to the accusation by the
British home secretary, David Blunkett, that Al-Jazeera had close
links with the Baghdad regime, a company spokesperson said: "I think
it's quite ironic then that the Iraqis are kicking out one of their