WikiLeaks cable: Al Jazeera director removed content at U.S. government’s request

WikiLeaks | Guardian | Associated Press
Wadah Khanfar, whose resignation as director of the satellite TV network Al Jazeera was announced Tuesday, removed content from the news site after complaints from the U.S. government, according to a 2005 diplomatic cable recently released by WikiLeaks. The cable, from the U.S. embassy in Doha, indicates that the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency sent regular reports criticizing Al Jazeera content, both on-air and online. A U.S. government official told Khanfar in a meeting “that problems still remain with double-sourcing in Iraq; identifying sources; use of inflammatory language; a failure to balance … extremist views; and the use of terrorist tapes.” Khanfar defended the content, noting that sometimes comments to balance one viewpoint appeared on the station later in the day and that he couldn’t control what interviewees said. In response to a complaint about one story online, Khanfar said he had removed two images and would remove the entire report. “Not immediately, because that would be talked about, but over two or three days,” Khanfar said, according to the cable. The Associated Press writes that the “disclosure of the Qatari-based network’s cooperation with the U.S. government is a stark contrast with Al-Jazeera’s reputation as a harsh critic of U.S. policies.” || Related: Foreign Policy magazine says the portrait painted by the 30-plus cables related to Al Jazeera “is not evidence of any sort of conspiracy so much as an organization struggling to maintain professional standards.”

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