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Al Jazeera Banned From NYSE Floor

From Reuters

The New York Stock Exchange banned an Al Jazeera reporter from its trading floor Monday, saying it was restricting access to “responsible” networks, as the Arab satellite television channel faces criticism in the U.S. for its coverage of the war in Iraq.

“We’ve had to focus our efforts on networks that focus on responsible business coverage,” said a NYSE spokesman, Ray Pellecchia, who declined to comment further.

He described the Al Jazeera ban as indefinite.

Several other news organizations have also been denied entry to the exchange’s Manhattan trading floor in the last few weeks, Pellecchia said, though he declined to name them.

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“Because of current security precautions, we have had to decline recent requests from broadcasters,” Pellecchia said. Before Monday’s ban, Al Jazeera reported regularly from the stock exchange.

Al Jazeera could not immediately be reached for comment.

The TV station, based in Qatar, has come under criticism for using Iraqi TV footage in its coverage of the war, including pictures of U.S. prisoners of war and Iraqi casualties. It has angered many in the U.S. before by broadcasting tapes of statements by Osama bin Laden.

“We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the media,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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The ban on Al Jazeera “would set a bad precedent, merely because of which area of the world they cover.”


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