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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Al-Arabiya ordered out of Baghdad
Al-Arabiya logo
Al-Arabiya satellite TV was set up as a rival to al-Jazeera
One of the main international Arab satellite television stations, al-Arabiya, has been ordered to stop broadcasting from Baghdad for a month.

The station said on Friday it had been accused by the Iraqi government of inciting sectarianism and promoting violence - allegations it has rejected.

The most influential Arab station, al-Jazeera, was thrown out of Iraq two years ago and has not returned.

Al-Arabiya said police moved into its office on Thursday to close it down.

The station said it had been told by Iraqi officials that the ban was a final warning.

Earlier this year, the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Maliki, warned television stations not to broadcast anything that could undermine Iraq's stability.

Deputy PM 'outraged'

An al-Arabiya editor said the only reason he could think of was a recent incident when the Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Saleh, was interviewed live.

Before going on air, he refused a request to appear with an opposition leader.

During the interview, the presenter asked Mr Saleh how he could talk of reconciliation but could not share a studio with the opposition. The comment is reported to have outraged Mr Saleh.

Arab journalists in Iraq say pressure from the government and other political and religious groups - as well as the constant threat of being killed or kidnapped by militants - has made it intensely difficult to do their job.

Eleven al-Arabiya journalists have been killed in Iraq, including its chief correspondent there, Atwar Bahjat.

Al-Arabiya's main rival, al-Jazeera, has been banned since 2004 when the authorities accused it of provoking violence by showing footage filmed by militants.




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