Al Jazeera under fire

Al Jazeera’s independent coverage has ruffled the feathers of many governments, political groups and regimes over the years.Consequently the channel and its reporters and staff have often become the story themselves.

George Bush has not been a big fan of Al Jazeera


March: The Palestinian Authority closes Al Jazeera’s office in Ramallah after the channel airs a documentary about the Lebanese civil war. The office is later reopened.

September: FBI agents seize servers hosting Al Jazeera’s website from a Dallas-based company.

November: Al Jazeera’s office in Kabul is hit by a US missile attack, destroying the building and damaging the homes of several employees, though no staff were hurt in the attack.

December: Yasir Abu Hilala, an Al Jazeera correspondent, is arrested in Jordan for covering a demonstration in support of Osama bin Laden.

Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera cameraman, is arrested by US forces and eventually taken to the detention centre in Guantanamo Bay.


March: Al Jazeera cameramen are detained in Cairo, Egypt, for covering student demonstrations in support of the Palestinian intifada.

Al Jazeera was the only media organisation to cover the demonstrations.

June: The Saudi government accuses an Al Jazeera programme of insulting the country’s royal family. The channel is banned from covering the pilgrimage to Mecca the following year and is later barred from the country except to cover special events.

November: Kuwait bans Al Jazeera for the second time for a report about US troops based in the Gulf state. Kuwaiti officials say the report gives Kuwait a bad image.

Bahrain closes Al Jazeera’s office there. The Bahraini information minister tells a Saudi newspaper that Al Jazeera is a “Zionist Israeli entity” out to destroy Arab unity.


Tariq Ayoub was killed by a US bomb in Baghdad
Tariq Ayoub was killed by a US bomb in Baghdad

Tariq Ayoub was killed by a US
bomb in Baghdad

March: The New York Stock Exchange bans Al Jazeera from its trading floor indefinitely. Officials blame the network’s coverage of the war on Iraq for its decision. The ban is rescinded a few months later.

Al Jazeera’s Arabic website and a site in English dealing with the war in Iraq are brought down by a hacker.

April 8: US bombs hit Al Jazeera’s office in Baghdad, killing reporter Tariq Ayoub and wounding cameraman Zohair al-Iraqi.

September: Taysir Alouni, an Al Jazeera correspondent, is arrested by Spanish authorities.

The Iraqi interim government suspends Al Jazeera from reporting on official government activities for two weeks for what it says was support of recent attacks on government members and US forces.

November: US forces arrest an Al Jazeera cameraman in Iraq for the second time in less than a month. Salah Hasan was arrested  minutes after he had arrived at the scene of explosions in Baquba.

January: In his State of the Union Address, President Bush refers to Al Jazeera as a source of “hateful propaganda” coming from the Arab world.

Iraq’s US-installed interim governing council prohibits Al Jazeera from covering its activities for a month.

During the US siege of the Iraqi town of Falluja a reporter asks Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, if he can “definitively say that hundreds of women and children and innocent civilians have not been killed?”

Referring to Al Jazeera’s exclusive coverage of the battle, Rumsfeld replies: “I can definitively say that what Al Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”

May: An Al Jazeera television worker, Rashid Hamid Wali, is killed while filming clashes in the Iraqi city of Kerbala.

August: The Iraqi interim government shuts down the Baghdad office of Al Jazeera for a month, citing national security concerns.

September: The shutdown in Baghdad is extended indefinitely and the offices are sealed. Al Jazeera continues to report from Iraq through a network of stringers.

Alluni has been arrested threetimes by Spanish authorities
Alluni has been arrested threetimes by Spanish authorities

Alluni has been arrested three
times by Spanish authorities

November: Taysir Alouni is rearrested by Spanish police.


June: Rumsfeld accuses Al Jazeera of encouraging Islamic military groups by airing beheadings of American troops in Iraq. In response, the network says in a statement that “Al Jazeera … has never at any time transmitted pictures of killings or beheadings and … any talk about this is absolutely unfounded.”

November 22: A British tabloid, the Daily Mirror, publishes a story saying it had obtained a leaked memo from someone in Tony Blair’s cabinet saying that President Bush had considered bombing Al Jazeera’s Doha headquarters in April 2004.

A civil servant from the British cabinet office, David Keogh, and Leo O’Connor, a parliamentary researcher, are later charged with violating the Official Secrets Act for their roles in leaking the memo to the Mirror. They are expected to be tried in secret in 2007.


October: David Blunkett, a former British interior minister, reveals in his memoirs that, during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he suggested to Tony Blair that the British military should bomb the Al Jazeera television transmitter in Baghdad.

Tunisia closes its embassy in Qatar, protesting against what it describes as a hostile campaign by Al Jazeera. The channel denies the allegations.

Source: Al Jazeera