I just don’t understand this decision. In the first place, what the interim government and the US seem to be objecting to is Al-Jazeera’s screening footage of kidnappings and hostages from videos provided by resistance and terror groups.
I sure don’t want to watch such footage, and I agree that it could inflame sadistic glee in violent opponents to the current regime, but isn’t that outweighed by its undeniable status as news? AJ’s showing footage of dead US soldiers during the (earlier part of the) war was also decried for the same reasons. In the last analysis, though, if such things are happening and we have documentation of them, isn’t the public ultimately entitled to know about it, even if it is admittedly violent and sensationalistic and encouraging to violent elements?
I mean, here in the US we don’t shut down media outlets for, say, devoting lots of coverage to mass murders and serial killings, even though all the publicity inspires “copycat” crimes. We didn’t shut them down for showing images of the Abu Ghraib tortures either, even though they’re admittedly violent and sensationalistic, and violent people who want to abuse Muslims would find them encouraging.
Surely, if such things are going on, it’s legitimate for a news agency to reveal them, even though there are undeniable downsides to broadcasting news about violence and lawlessness and murder.
In the second place: if the Iraqi interim government is really committed (mistakenly, IMO) to squelching media exposure of this type of thing, what’s the point of shutting down AJ for only one month? How much of a deterrent will that realistically be? STM that it will just annoy us civil-liberties types and make the interim government look less democratic and more like a US puppet, and AJ will just keep on doing the same sort of thing when they resume broadcasting next month. Or does the governing council imagine that in one month they’ll resolve all the hostage-taking issues so there won’t be any more such appalling footage to show? Dream on.