Al Jazeera stops Iraqi broadcasts as reporters banned
LONDON - Al Jazeera, which in recent weeks has broadcast images of dead and captured allied troops, has stopped reporting from Iraq after two of its reporters were banned.
It said the move was in response to its two correspondents being ordered to leave the country by the Iraqi Information Ministry. The regime gave no reason for its decision.
The news is likely to delight the White House and Downing Street, following the accusations that the broadcaster was, ironically, a mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein's regime.
Al Jazeera earned the fury of Washington and London after it broadcast Iraqi state television pictures showing captured allied troops being paraded in front of the camera. It also showed film of dead allied troops, including two British soldiers who may have been executed. The images were condemned by the commander of UK forces in the Gulf, Air Marshal Brian Burridge as disgraceful.
In a statement, the Arabic satellite news station said: "Al Jazeera regrets this surprising and sudden stand, which is not justified."
The station informed the world of the development when it interrupted programming to break the news of its own banning.
Ibrahim Helal, editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera, told Reuters: "They can not dictate to us who can and can not work."
Al-Jazeera said it will continue to transmit images from its offices in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, but that its correspondent Tayseer Alouni has left the country and Iraqi-born reporter Diyar al-Omari will stop reporting.
The halt to its broadcasts come as Al Jazeera is reported to have taken its recently launched English-language website offline after consistent attacks by hackers. Visitors to English.aljazeera.net are now being redirected to the original Aljazeera.net site.
Last week, hackers replaced the site with a logo of the United States flag and the message 'Let Freedom Ring'. Visitors to the English-language site saw the flag shaped like a map of America, while surfers to the Arabic site were redirected to a pornography site.
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