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Is the World Watching Two Different Versions of the Invasion of Iraq? a Comparison of the Arab-Language Media and Western Media

March 27, 2003


It has been a busy few days for Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite television station based in Qatar.

On Sunday, the station aired controversial images of American POWs held by Iraq.

On Monday, the New York Stock Exchange banned Al Jazeera reporters from the floor of the stock exchange.

On Tuesday, Al Jazeera launched a much anticipated English language website. The site was inaccessible for much of the day due to attacks from hackers and heavy traffic. In addition on Tuesday the Nasdaq stock market also decided to ban Al Jazeera reporters from its floor.

A Nasdaq spokesperson explained the decision: "In light of Al Jazeera’s recent conduct during the war, in which they have broadcast footage of U.S. POWs in alleged violation of the Geneva Convention, they are not welcome to broadcast from our facility at this time."

And yesterday, Al Jazeera ran reports that may anger some backers of the war. The network’s correspondent in Basra is claiming there are no signs of a civilian uprising in Basra against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Al Jazeera’s programming has been seen as controversial by some in Washington ever since it began broadcasting six years ago. The network has since grown into a CNN of the Arabic world reaching up to 55 million viewers. It is one of eight Arabic-language stations reporting on the war.

  • Lamis Andoni, an independent journalist and analyst who has covered the Middle East fro over 20 years. She covered the first Gulf War for the Christian Science Monitor and Financial Times. She also covered the Iran-Iraq war in the south of Iraq. She has been monitoring the Arab-language and US media coverage of this war.