Al-Jazeera TV Chief Sacked

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Wed May 28 15:54:44 MDT 2003

*****   Al-Jazeera TV Chief Sacked
Wednesday, May 28 2003 @ 05:23 PM GMT

"Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the American-backed Iraqi National
Congress, has accused several Al-Jazeera journalists of working for
Iraqi agencies based on documents found in state archives in Baghdad

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*****   The Scotsman
Wed 28 May 2003
Al-Jazeera shake-up amid spying claim

AL-JAZEERA television said last night it would replace its chief
executive officer amid allegations the channel had been infiltrated
by Iraqi intelligence.

However, the channel insisted the claims had nothing to do with the decision.

Jihad Ballout, a company spokesman, said that Mohammed Jassem al-Ali,
who had headed the channel since its launch eight years ago, would
remain on the board of directors.

But he confirmed that he would hand over the day-to-day running to
someone else. "Mohammed Jassem al-Ali was seconded from Qatar
Television to set up and run al-Jazeera and what has been decided is
that this secondment be ceased and for him to go back to his normal
job," Mr Ballout said.

"Changes take place for various reasons and for Mohammed Jassem
al-Ali to remain on the board means that all these rumours and
allegations about Jazeera are not taken at face value whatsoever."

The seven-member board of directors is chaired by Sheik Hamad bin
Thamer Al Thani, a member of Qatar's royal family.

The board is responsible for the channel's editorial policy.

Sources at al-Jazeera said al-Ali offered to resign several months
ago because of disagreements he had with a member of the station's
new board of directors.

Sheik Hamad appointed a new board in February.

It was reported earlier this month that documents uncovered by
opponents of the ousted Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, showed that
there were three Iraqi intelligence agents working inside al-Jazeera
with the aim of gaining favourable coverage. Al-Jazeera, which often
aired exclusive material from Iraqi officials during the US-led war,
denied the claims.

The channel came under fire from US and British officials for
broadcasting TV footage of soldiers slain and imprisoned during the

But it was also criticised by the Iraqi authorities for what they
called its pro-American coverage.

Al-Jazeera correspondents were temporarily banned from the New York
Stock Exchange and from reporting in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera gained international renown after the 11 September, 2001,
attacks on the United States by airing exclusive audio and video
comments from Osama bin Laden and senior members of al-Qaeda, the
group blamed for the attacks.

Al-Jazeera's coverage of the war on Afghanistan - where one of its
correspondents was accused of being part of the now-defunct Taleban
government - and the war on Iraq both boosted its popularity in the
Arab world.

Its slick, no-nonsense approach to news has earned it the nickname of
the "Arab CNN".

<>   *****

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