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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 July, 2003, 21:22 GMT 22:22 UK
US attacks 'biased' Arab news
Iraqi watching al-Jazeera coverage of deaths of Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay
Many Iraqis get their news from al-Jazeera
Arabic-language news networks are inciting violence against US troops in Iraq, according to US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Mr Wolfowitz said stations like al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya incited hatred and violence by "slanting news incredibly" about events in Iraq.

Both stations have rejected allegations of bias, saying Mr Wolfowitz has misrepresented their output.

Editor-in-chief Salah Negm said al-Arabiya's coverage "reflects the truth even if that angered some people".

Mr Wolfowitz's comments came as al-Jazeera said US troops had arrested one of its journalists in northern Iraq.

'False report'

Mr Wolfowitz gave as an example of bias a report on al-Jazeera that he said had endangered the lives of US troops in Iraq.

Paul Wolfowitz speaking on Fox
Wolfowitz: "Governments should realise that this is not game"
"While we were there, al-Jazeera ran a totally false report that American troops had gone and detained one of the key imams in the holy city of Najaf, which was a false report," Mr Wolfowitz said.

"We're talking to the owners of these stations and asking for some balance," Mr Wolfowitz said, adding that so far the response had been "not satisfactory".

"These governments should stop and realise that this is not a game," he said.

Al-Jazeera manager Adnan al-Sharif said the station had never reported the arrest, though it did carry reports from other agencies - which later proved to be untrue - that Sheikh Muqtada al-Sadr's house had been surrounded by US troops.

Mr Wolfowitz's observation was an example of the level of "misinterpretation" al-Jazeera faced, Mr Sharif added.

Relations between the US and al-Jazeera have come under increasing strain - particularly after al-Jazeera broadcast pictures of American casualties and prisoners of war, and US forces bombed al-Jazeera's Baghdad office killing one journalist.

Hunger strike

Al-Jazeera has become the first Arabic language news broadcaster to gain a worldwide reputation because of its ground-breaking coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Al-Jazeera said its reporter Nawfal al-Shahwani had been arrested in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, although American military officials said they knew nothing about the reported detention.

It is the third time an al-Jazeera journalist has been reportedly detained by American troops since the end of hostilities to oust Saddam Hussein's regime in April.

Al-Jazeera said Mr Shahwani had gone on a hunger strike to protest the detention and has been transferred to a hospital.

He had been filming a civilian vehicle whose occupants had launched an attack on the US troops in Mosul, the station reported.




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