Al-Jazeera correspondents’ credentials revoked

New York, March 25, 2003—The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has revoked the credentials of two reporters from the Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera.

According to NYSE spokesman Ray Pellecchia, the press accreditation of Al-Jazeera’s Ammar Shankari and his colleague Ramzi Shiber was canceled on Monday, March 24.

Pellecchia said the decision was an effort to reduce the number of journalists on the stock exchange floor and give priority to financial networks and their reporters. He also said the decision to reduce the number of journalists on the floor stemmed in part from security considerations.

Pellecchia denied that the move was related to Al-Jazeera’s recent war coverage but confirmed that Al-Jazeera was the only news organization that had its accreditation revoked. He added that they might be able to reapply.

“We are deeply troubled by this development,” said CPJ acting director Joel Simon. “The timing of this action raises concerns that it may have been taken in retaliation for Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the Gulf war. Any effort by NYSE to prevent journalists from doing their jobs because of their news organization’s editorial policy damages the NYSE’s standing as a forum for the open exchange of news and information.”

Also today, hackers knocked Al-Jazeera’s English- and Arabic-language Web sites out of service, according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, sources said that Iraqi authorities temporarily confiscated film and satellite phones from correspondents in Baghdad during the last week.

CPJ continues to investigate reports that nonuniformed Iraqi soldiers have detained two Iranian journalists working for Arab media who recently entered the country from Iran.