Now we know how nervous the Americans really are!
NY stock exchange bans Arab TV network
Tuesday March 25, 2003
Al-Jazeera: criticised by US military for its coverage of conflict
The New York stock exchange has banned al-Jazeera from its trading floor, prompting accusations that it was retaliating against the Arabic-language TV network's stance on the war in Iraq.
A reporter for al-Jazeera, which has been criticised by the US military for its coverage of conflict, has been barred from entering the exchange while another has been ordered to return his press card.
A spokesman for the NYSE said it was limiting access to "responsible" broadcasters and insisted other broadcasters had also been affected.
But al-Jazeera, which has covered the New York stock market for several years, said it believed it was the only channel affected by the action and attributed the decision to its stance on the war.
"Al-Jazeera has received an official letter from the New York stock exchange informing it that the station's financial reporters can no longer present their reports from the exchange," the satellite channel reported today on its morning financial broadcast.
It claimed the decision had been taken "because of al-Jazeera's coverage of the war on Iraq".
A spokesman for the NYSE said it was limiting the number of broadcasters in the stock exchange building for security reasons, adding that it was retaining those broadcasters that focused "on responsible business coverage".
Al-Jazeera has given extensive coverage to widespread Arab criticism of the American war effort and US military officials have criticised the station for broadcasting Iraqi television images of American prisoners of war.
The channel said today the exchange had withdrawn the press card of its reporter, Ammar al-Sankari, and ordered a second reporter, Ramzi Shiber, to hand over his press card immediately.
Al-Jazeera, which is based in the Gulf state of Qatar, has gained a reputation as an unusually independent voice in a region where many TV stations are heavily influenced by government.
Ghazi Khankan of the Council on American-Islamic Relations criticised the move, saying al-Jazeera "is really one of the very few independent Arab media, and to cut them off is a loss to the stock exchange". He said he understood American sensitivity over the TV footage of prisoners of war, but said: "I don't think this is the right thing to do in spite of the sad pictures."