Wednesday, March 26, 2003

NYSE decision to boot Arab network criticized

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Media watchdogs expressed outrage Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange's decision to revoke Arab TV network Al-Jazeera's credentials and warned it could boomerang on U.S. journalists.

"Among other things, it would raise questions about how other foreign news agencies would be handled here in the United States if their coverage was out of favor with a particular accrediting organization," said Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. "American journalists might find their credentials or journalistic access limited or denied in other countries in response to the Al-Jazeera situation with the NYSE."

In a statement Tuesday, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera said it was "deeply concerned" about revocation of the credentials of Ammar al-Sankari and Ramsey Shiber.

The NYSE decision followed sharp U.S. government criticism of the satellite TV channel's airing of Iraqi TV footage over the weekend showing dead American soldiers and captured U.S. prisoners of war.

NYSE executive vice president Robert Zito would not discuss whether the footage was a factor in the NYSE's decision. Instead, he said, security concerns about limited space at the lower Manhattan building forced the exchange to focus on networks that "cover business in a very responsible way."

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