International TV networks set for chat

US national security advisor Rice slams Al Jazeera as Qatar-based news channel plans to host international TV network forum on ethics.

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By  John Irish Published  June 8, 2004

A day doesn’t pass without somebody accusing one of the international news networks of bias. Be it Al Jazeera, BBC or CNN, the criticism is constant. As a response, the Qatar-based news channel is hoping to bring various TV networks together to discuss the idiosyncrasies of news reporting. Speaking at the 6th Arab telecom and Internet Forum, Waddah Khanfar, managing director, Al Jazeera suggested advances in live broadcasting had opened up a whole new can of worms. Among the issues raised, Khanfar was quick to point to how the importance of getting news out first sometimes made it difficult for networks to control the types of images aired. With Al Jazeera often facing the brunt of criticism, particularly from western governments, Khanfar hopes a forum bringing together international television organisations will help clear the air and exchange ideas between broadcasters. The forum would also focus heavily on looking at ways to promote a code of ethics as we well as discussing issues related to the moral obligation of networks. Al Jazeera is aiming to host the forum by early July. Meanwhile, on the eve of the G8 summit to be held in Georgia, USA, the American national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice accused Al Jazeera of “purely inaccurate” reporting with regard the Middle East. “I do think people have suggested that it would be a good thing if reporting were accurate on Al Jazeera and if it were not slanted in ways that appear to be at times purely inaccurate,” Rice told reporters. Al Jazeera spokesman, Jihad Ballout defended his channel indicating that the broadcaster was neither pro or against anybody.

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