Iraq Council bans Al Jazeera again

Iraq's Governing Council has banned Al Jazeera from covering Council events for a month. The moratorium comes in the wake of remarks made during a phone-in show broadcast last week.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  February 3, 2004

Iraq's Governing Council has banned Al Jazeera from covering Council events for a month. The moratorium comes in the wake of remarks made during a phone-in show broadcast last week, which were deemed insulting. Council spokeswoman Marouj Haider said the channel had shown "disrespect to Iraq and its people and harmed prominent religious and national figures” including Mohsen Al Hakim, the son of Iraqi religious leader and Council member Abdul Aziz Al Hakim and his sons as well as Mustafa Barzani, the late father of Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani. The council has in the past issued similar ban orders and limited the operations of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, accusing them of inciting violence. "It is yet another unfortunate situation and Al Jazeera is trying to ascertain what has happened with the view to resolve matters because we believe it is for the benefit of both parties to have media operations in Iraq," Al Jazeera spokesperson Jihad Ballout said. He said the ban, which prevents Al Jazeera from accessing Governing Council buildings, was imposed following comments made by a caller during a phone-in debate on the situation in Iraq. On Wednesday, CNBC Arabiya reopened its Baghdad office after a two-month ban that was issued after it aired a message from Saddam Hussain. Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera have also sparked US anger by airing footage of anti-US attacks. The stations deny inciting violence and instead state that their reports are accurate.

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