All I can say is it's about fooking time!
Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera's Baghdad office
Qatar-based TV network to close in capital for one month
Saturday, August 7, 2004 Posted: 5:48 PM EDT (2148 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's interim government has closed the Baghdad office of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network for one month, citing national security concerns.
"This decision was taken to protect the people of Iraq and the interests of Iraq," Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's told a news conference Saturday.
Allawi said the order to close Al-Jazeera, which was to take effect immediately, came after an independent commission monitored the network's reports.
The findings of the commission were "compelling," he said.
"They came up with a concise report on the issues of incitement and the problems Al-Jazeera has been causing."
Al-Jazeera also reported the closing.
Jihad Ballout, the network's spokesman, told The Associated Press that Al-Jazeera was not given a reason for the closure.
"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.
Ballout described the government's decision as "unwise" and said it restrains both the freedom of the press and "right of the Arab people around the world to see a comprehensive picture about what's going on in an important region like Iraq."
Government ministers have been critical of the Arab-language network, saying it has been airing dangerous, inciteful images and reports. Among those images are videos of people abducted in the recent wave of kidnappings.
"I got an order from the National Security Committee to close Al-Jazeera starting from today for one month just to give them the chance to readjust their policy against Iraq," said Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib.
When asked why, al-Naqib said "you know exactly" what the network has been doing.
"They have been showing a lot of crime and criminals on TV. They transferred a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis. They have encouraged the criminals and the gangsters to increase their activities in the country," al-Naqib said.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry added: "Al-Jazeera has accepted to be the mouthpiece of terrorist and criminal groups thus contributing to attempts to impair security and achieve aims of terrorism in spreading terror in the minds of peaceful Iraqi citizens with activities that have nothing to do with acts of violence.
"In so doing, it has contributed to hindering the Iraq reconstruction process by justifying kidnappings and killing of foreigners working here.
"It has also subjected the security, safety and property of citizens as well as government facilities, security and safety of national armed forces to danger."