IGC censors Al Arabiya

The US occupation authority continues moving ahead with the peculiar form of "democracy" being planned for Iraq. Today's exercise concerns "freedom of the press":
The U.S.-appointed government raided the offices of Al-Arabiya television on Monday, banned its broadcasts from Iraq and threatened to imprison its journalists.

"We have issued a warning to Al-Arabiya and we will sue," said Jalal Talabani, the current council president. "Al-Arabiya incites murder because it's calling for killings through the voice of Saddam Hussein."
The move comes 3 days after Rumsfeld launched yet another tirade against Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera:
"At the present time, two of the most popular stations, Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, are violently anti-coalition and were pro-Saddam Hussein, in the case of Al-Jazeera, in such an obvious way," Rumsfeld said at a town hall meeting with Pentagon workers. "It will take some time to persuade people to watch alternative programming."
"Persuade people" in this case being understood as "give people no other choice".

During Rumsfeld's "town hall" meeting, one of the US finest "soldier-journalists" stated that the US was working on setting up its own Arabic-language propaganda outlet:
The American-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is working hard to get its own satellite station broadcasting, said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Myers said the new station was trying to develop "quality programming that we hope will attract Iraqis' attention to what's going on in their country and take their attention away from Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya."
Fisky gives us an idea of what this "quality programming" will entail:
Things are no better in the American-run television and radio stations in Baghdad. The 357 journalists working from the Bremer palace grounds have twice gone on strike for more pay and have complained of censorship. According to one of the reporters, they were told by John Sandrock - head of the private American company SAIC, which runs the television station - that "either you accept what we offer or you resign; there are plenty of candidates for your jobs."

When a bomb blew up in part of a mosque in Fallujah last month, for example - killing at least three men - local residents claimed the building had been hit by a rocket from an American jet. The Americans denied this. But no mention of the incident was made on the American-controlled media in Baghdad. Asked for an explanation, newsreader Fadl Hatta Al-Timini replied: "I don't know the answer to that - I'm here to read the news that's brought to me from the Convention Palace (the American headquarters that also houses the station's offices), that's all."
Quality, indeed.

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