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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Qatar pledges al-Jazeera 'review'
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, Qatari foreign minister
Sheikh Hamad's family is closely linked to al-Jazeera
Qatar's foreign minister says he will tell the satellite television station al-Jazeera to review its coverage after complaints of bias from Washington.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim was speaking after talks at the White House with US Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

He said the station needed to be more professional and not publish untruths.

The Bush administration has repeatedly criticised al-Jazeera's coverage of US actions in the Middle East.

We need al-Jazeera to be professional and we don't want anybody to send lies
Sheikh Hamad
Sheikh Hamad said that Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld had complained that al-Jazeera broadcast "some inaccurate information about what's happening in Iraq".

"We will take this concern back to al-Jazeera and they have to review (it) because we need al-Jazeera to be professional and we don't want anybody to send lies or to send wrong information," Sheikh Hamad said.

"Al-Jazeera and our government would like only accurate information. That's not respectable by us and not by the world if they are doing this," the sheikh said.

Although Qatar's rulers provide most of the funding for al-Jazeera, Sheikh Hamad stressed he was not responsible for it and that it was part of the "free press" in Qatar.

'Responsible news'

State department spokesman Adam Ereli said the Bush administration was "looking for the Qataris to take action" in the light of its complaints about al-Jazeera.

US POW being questioned on Iraqi TV
Al-Jazeera has been heavily criticised for showing pictures of US and UK POWs
"We've asked them to take steps to professionalise the station, and to adapt and adopt practices that other responsible news organisations do, and expect that will happen in due course," he told reporters.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told his Qatari counterpart that al-Jazeera coverage in Iraq was harming bilateral ties.

In the past Mr Rumsfeld has accused it of co-operating with the insurgents in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera has accused US-led forces in Iraq of harassing its journalists. Its offices in both Baghdad and Kabul were hit by US air strikes. US officials said this was accidental.

The station has won audiences of an estimated 35m people in the Arabic-speaking world drawn by its trenchant style of journalism that frequently challenges Washington's policies in the Middle East.


SEE ALSO:
Rumsfeld blasts Arab TV stations
26 Nov 03  |  Middle East
US 'targets' journalists in Iraq
30 Oct 03  |  Middle East
Al-Jazeera chief 'sacked'
27 May 03  |  Middle East
Al-Jazeera: News channel in the news
29 Mar 03  |  Middle East


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