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New York Stock Exchange Bars Al-Jazeera Reporter
Mon March 24, 2003 08:47 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Stock Exchange banned an al Jazeera reporter from its trading floor on Monday, saying it was restricting access to "responsible" networks, as the Arab satellite television channel faces criticism in the United States for its coverage of the war in Iraq.

"We've had to focus our efforts on networks that focus on responsible business coverage," said NYSE spokesman Ray Pellecchia, declining to comment further.

He described the Al-Jazeera ban as "indefinite."

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

"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 world's largest 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 United States before by broadcasting tapes of statements from Osama bin Laden.

"We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the media," Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Reuters. "It (the ban) would set a bad precedent, merely because of which area of the world they cover."

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