Powell Accused Of Trying To Censor Qatar TV Channel
Fri Oct 05 2001 12:43:48 ET
The WALL STREET JOURNAL reports in Friday runs: Secretary of State Colin Powell may have sought to improve America's image in Arab eyes on Wednesday, when he publicly asked the visiting emir of Qatar to 'tone down' unfriendly broadcasts on Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite TV channel popular across the Middle East.
But the remarks produced exactly the opposite effect: Intellectuals throughout the Arab world voiced dismay over what they saw as an attempt to censor one of the region's main sources of independent news.
"This is truly appalling," said Majeed Alalawi, deputy head of the Bahrain Center for Studies and Research.
"I would have expected Powell to ask for more liberalization, for more freedom of speech in the region, not for more censorship."
The JOURNAL adds, "Many Arab analysts argued that it is, after all, Washington's perceived disregard for human rights in officially pro- American countries such as Saudi Arabia that fuels the rampant anti- Americanism."