Al Jazeera out of Baghdad after reporters expelled

Two reporters from Al Jazeera have been kicked out of Baghdad.

According to the Guardian:

Firstly, I haven’t seen any reports of Western reporters (those that had the courage to stay) being expelled for attempting to slip past their Iraqi minders.

Secondly, is anyone still seriously claiming that Al Jazeera is pro-Saddam?

CNN’s had its reporters booted out for similar reasons.

Really - I heard that they just left - do you have a reference for that?

What was official the reason for the Newsweek reporters who were jailed and only recently released?

Flaggs went up in my head last night when I heard this. Don’t ask me why but I immediately thought something bad was going to happen that the Iraqi Government does not want the arab world to see through Al-Jazeera - possibly thinking it may weaken their arab support if seen on that network… Anyone else think that?

Oh, sorry Tuckerfan, found it.

The jailed reporters were allegedly “spies”. I don’t think they’d slipped away from their goons - they were just picked up. It was Newsday too.

Phlosphr, that’s a possibility that hadn’t occurred to me - though there are other Arabic stations in Baghdad at the moment too.

It’s the best evidence for the lack of bias by al Jazeera. They piss everyone off.

Phlosphr may be on target, I think. CNN is the biggest of the English language global TV news stations, though BBC is generally better regarded outside of the US. But so far as I know, al Jazeera is the ONLY global Arabic TV source, with something like 35 million audience. If there’s something Saddam doesn’t want seen in the Arab world, that’s the way . …

Well, it doesn’t have to be anything appalling like WOMD–maybe he just doesn’t want his neighbors to see the actual Baghdad firefight “live” in progress, so he can claim all sorts of things later about the battle.

I had the same thought, Phlosphr. I was thinking either that, or they just don’t want the network to see the fact that US troops are in fact very close to Bahgdad. This is something that the regime has been denying.

Could just be a nice ploy, though. Who knows, the reasons given seem underwhelming, IMHO. And possibly contrived or, at least, opportunistic ?

I obviously meant ‘a ploy’ in the sense of this expulsion gaining Al Jazeera credibility / kudos in the West. Doubt it, but worth considering …

Al-Jazeera is the FOX of the arab world, news with an opinion. Some of the less opinionated and hard hitting (And decidedly less graphic) middle-eastern news organizations still remain. I do find it interesting though, since Al-Jazeera is clearly the heavyweight among this group. The regime has been so deeply engaged in a propoganda war that they don’t even realize that they are loosing the other war.

More the BBC (the real one, not the hawk fantasy) of the arab world. Founded when BBC shut down their arab version, many old Beeb employees now at Al-jaz.

And Baghdad still get’s excellent coverage from * drum roll * Swedish state TV!

Furthermore, Al J has infuriated other Arab countries because it hasn’t toed the governmental party line, unlike other state TV stations.

I’m confused as to how this can be the case.

Al Jazeera is operated from Qatar, and is partially funded by the Qatari government. Since the Qatari government is in direct opposition to most other Arab countries about this war (as well as much else), it would seem that not toing the governmental party line would make these other Arab countries happy, not infuriated.

Care to explain?

Listent ot he Iraqi Information Minister. He is telling people around Iraq on the radio and their TV, that they are winning the war. Killing ‘many Americans’ and destroying tanks and artillery vehicles. So it seems logical that the Iraqi Government would not want common everyday Iraqis to watch Al-Jazeera and learn that the Gov’t is lying to them… That in fact they are losing the war horribly, and quickly. The Iraqi Gov’t is simply trying to rally the people who can not physically see the Coalition is winning.

It is rather pathetic listening to the information minister telling Iraqi commoners that they are actually winning the war…

Phlosphr:

I do believe something like that put in other words could be an explanation :slight_smile:

The ‘party line’ being that of the governments who are doing the complaining.

That a government funds a news service doesn’t necessarily make it biased towards that government. Look at the BBC.

Furthermore, the founders of Al Jazeera were all trained by the BBC for the abortive BBC Arabic news service. The Emir of Qatar provided the money, but in the spirit of an independent medium:

Now look at the ire that Al Jazeera has caused around the Gulf with its “Zionist” stance.

Clearly, A J isn’t squeaky-clean: “it is careful not to criticise Qatar itself and some of its close Gulf allies, specifically Saudi Arabia” (BBC), but in comparison to the other Arabic news services, it’s a beacon of independence.