Tags: Jazeera | Haiti | coverage | Qatar

Washington Slams Al-Jazeera Haiti Coverage

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 10:25 PM

WASHINGTON - The US State Department on Tuesday faulted the coverage of the Haiti earthquake by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, saying it falsely suggested a US militarization of the country.

Philip Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said he complained to the network's English-language service about "what we felt was unfair, unbalanced coverage of operations in Haiti."

"It suggested there was a militarization of the effort," Crowley told reporters.

He criticized an instance in which he said Al-Jazeera compared the Port-au-Prince airport, the hub of US relief operations, to the Green Zone where US forces are stationed in Baghdad.

Crowley pointed to Al-Jazeera in response to a question seeking clarification of remarks earlier Tuesday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said some foreign media "either misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued" the US decision to send thousands of troops to Haiti.

Clinton strongly defended the US military involvement in Haiti, saying it was vital to the relief efforts in the wake of the tragedy that killed more than 150,000 people.

Leftist Latin American nations such as Venezuela and Cuba have accused the United States of occupying Haiti. The United States sent troops to the poor Caribbean nation in 1915, establishing a military government that lasted until 1934.

The United States has also faced criticism from NATO ally Italy, where a senior official on Sunday said Washington had sent "too many officers" to Haiti and could not find a capable leader.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi distanced himself from the remarks Tuesday, hailing the United States for its "generous and significant intervention" in Haiti.

Al-Jazeera has had a rocky relationship with US authorities, who have faulted its coverage of US foreign policy and its airing of tapes by Osama bin Laden but also turned to the network to reach an Arab audience.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2010 10:25 PM
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