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Iraq Boots Al Jazeera Journalist, Bars Another From Reporting

WAR WITH IRAQ / THE MEDIA

April 03, 2003|From Associated Press

DOHA, Qatar — Iraqi officials are expelling an Al Jazeera reporter from Baghdad and barring another from reporting, the Arab satellite channel said today.

The station interrupted a newscast to announce that Iraq's Information Ministry had informed it that correspondent Tayseer Allouni must leave the country and that correspondent Diar Omari, an Iraqi, could no longer report for the network.

Al Jazeera said the ministry did not give a reason for the action, which the station called "sudden and unjustified."

"Al Jazeera channel announces that it has decided to suspend until further notice the work of all its correspondents in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, while maintaining the broadcasting of live and recorded images received from its office in Baghdad," the station said.

There was no immediate announcement of the move from Iraqi officials, who have taken similar actions against several Western networks, including CNN.

Western critics have often accused Al Jazeera of a pro-Iraqi bias in its coverage of the U.S.-led attack on Saddam Hussein's government. The station is partially financed by the government of Qatar, the regional headquarters of the U.S. Central Command.

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