Iraq kicks out al-Jazeera from Baghdad

April 3, 2003 at 12:00 AM

DOHA, Qatar, April 2 (UPI) -- The Arabic-language al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, criticized by the U.S.-led coalition for its coverage of the war in Iraq, has said it is suspending the activities of its correspondents in Iraq after that country's government asked its reporter to leave Baghdad.

The network said the Iraqi information ministry had asked al-Jazeera reporters Diyar al-Umari, who works in Baghdad, and Taysir Alluni to leave the country as soon as possible.

"The Iraqi Information Ministry gave no justification for its decision," the channel said. "As al-Jazeera Channel regrets this sudden and unjustified stand by the Iraqi Information Ministry, it announces that it has decided -- until further notice -- to suspend the work of all its correspondents in Iraq."

The network said, however, it will continue to broadcast live and recorded pictures coming from its offices in Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul.

Al-Jazeera has been criticized by the U.S. and British governments and militaries for its decision to show images of captured coalition prisoners of war before their families were notified.

"We deplore the decision by al-Jazeera to broadcast such material and call upon them to desist immediately," a British spokesman said March 27. "We request all media outlets not to become tools for Iraqi propaganda by re-broadcasting such material."

It has also previously been criticized by Arab governments for its portrayal of Middle East issues.

The network is partially owned by the Qatari government, a key U.S. ally in the region and home to U.S Central Command.

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