Jobs @ MG
Freedom of speech!
TV is an independent commercial Arabic-language satellite TV station, well
regarded for presenting a far wider range of views and perspectives than
any other broadcast news in the region but US standards of ‘freedom’
do not apply there...
Washington (CNN): The Bush administration is pressuring Qatar to restrain
the al-Jazeera cable TV network, which the US believes is ‘unbalanced’
and encourages ‘anti-American’ sentiment in the Middle East, the State
Department said. Secretary of State Colin Powell met on 3 October the Emir
of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, whose government currently
holds the presidency of the Organization of Islamic Countries.
The Bush administration wants Qatar to use its influence with the cable
network, which is based in Qatar and is considered the most widely watched
in the Arab world, officials said.
Officials said the station continues to run an old television interview
with Osama bin Laden and has invited anti-American guests who have argued
that US foreign policy was to blame for the September 11 terrorist
attacks. Further, they questioned the accuracy of al-Jazeera's reports,
citing broadcasts that said U.S. Special Operations forces were captured
in Afghanistan, which the United States denied.
"We had a frank exchange," one senior State Department official
told CNN about Powell's meeting with the Emir. "There should have
been no mistake of where we are coming from." The official said the
Emir was "defensive" about the issue and countered that while
his government was aware of U.S. sensitivities on the issue, it did not
feel al-Jazeera was any more inflammatory than any other Arab media
outlet. "He said he would take it as a piece of advice," the
official said, noting that the inflammatory broadcasts have toned down a
bit in the few days preceding the Emir's visit, but that Washington was
looking for continued calm.
State Department officials told CNN that U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Maureen
Quinn lodged a formal U.S. protest, to Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad
bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani about the broadcasts.
The Emir confirmed that the Bush administration asked his government to
use its influence on al-Jazeera. "This is true. We heard from the
U.S. administration, and also from the previous U.S. administration,"
he said. "Naturally we take these things as a kind of advice."