Al-Jazeera correspondents allowed to return to NYSE

New York, May 1, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes the decision by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to restore the press accreditation of two correspondents working with the Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera.

Correspondents Ammar Shankari and Ramzi Shiber told CPJ they were notified on Tuesday, April 29, that their accreditation to cover the NYSE had been reinstated, and that they will return to work on Monday.

“We are pleased that our colleagues can finally resume their coverage of the stock exchange,” said CPJ acting director Joel Simon. “However, their accreditation never should have been revoked in the first place.”

The NYSE had revoked the credentials of both reporters on March 24, claiming it wanted to reduce the number of journalists on the stock exchange floor for security reasons and to give priority to financial networks and their reporters. The revocation came just after the channel had aired controversial footage from Iraqi state television of U.S. prisoners of war. While one NYSE spokesman denied that the move was related to Al-Jazeera’s coverage in Iraq, another spokesman said the station was not a “responsible” news outlet, hinting that its war coverage may have factored into the decision to revoke the journalists’ accreditation.

CPJ protested the ban in a March 25 statement, and on April 9, CPJ board member James C. Goodale wrote to NYSE chairman Richard Grasso, calling the move a “huge mistake for the NYSE to appear to have gotten in the business of censorship.”