Al Jazeera slams Blunkett over Baghdad bombing

Arab television network Al Jazeera has today said that it is outraged at statements made by former British Home Secretary, David Blunkett regarding the bombing of the channel's office in Iraq.

In an interview with Channel Four broadcast earlier this week, Blunkett – who was a member of the war cabinet during the Iraq invasion – admits that he advised Prime Minister Tony Blair to attack Al Jazeera's Baghdad office.

Al Jazeera Network said today in a statment that it was outraged at such an attitude toward the free press. "We are troubled by the fact that the former Home Secretary's advice came only two weeks before the actual bombing of Al Jazeera's Baghdad office, which resulted in the death of our reporter, Tareq Ayoub, and the destruction of our facilities.

"Mr Blunkett justified his position by saying: 'I don't think that there are targets in a war that you can rule out because you don't actually have military personnel inside them if they are attempting to win a propaganda battle on behalf of your enemy.' "

It added: "We find Mr. Blunkett's allegations and position to be irresponsible and dangerous not only for Al Jazeera but for the freedom of media everywhere in the world.

"Given the weight of Mr. Blunkett's statements we strongly urge Prime Minister Blair for a clarification of this matter in alignment with the tenants of freedom and democracy which they advocate."

Al Jazeera said it is in consultation with its lawyers and pursuing next steps in the matter.


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