- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

While U.S. newspapers and television are filled with images of American troops helping injured Iraqi soldiers, media in the Arab and Muslim world are holding up pictures of Iraqi children killed and wounded in coalition air strikes.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher yesterday criticized the Arab media for coverage of the war, accusing some outlets of "misconstruing things and inflaming things" and calling on them to stick to the facts when it came to U.S. actions in Iraq.
Meanwhile, hackers furious at Al Jazeera's broadcast of dead or captured U.S. and British soldiers, jammed the English-language online version of the Qatar-based satellite news channel, which is watched by an estimated 35 million viewers.
Those who did get through to the Web site were welcomed by a banner saying: "hacked by Patriot Freedom Cyber force Militia."
"It's completely flooded by people we suspect are in the United States," said Lawrence Smallman, who works for Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar.
Mr. Smallman said the U.S.-based data company that hosts the Web site has given the news channel until the end of the month to go somewhere else. He said the Al Jazeera site was likely to move to a French server.
The channel, unlike U.S. and British media outlets, has aired grisly pictures of dead and captured coalition forces igniting the ire of American and British governments, but attracting audiences in the Arab world.
The stark difference in war coverage reflects the deep divisions in how people around the world view the war to oust Iraqi Saddam Hussein for refusing to comply with U.N. resolutions to disarm.
"We have a situation the marketplace in Baghdad where many people jumped to the conclusion that it must have been the U.S. bombing that had done it.
And now, it's at least fair to say it's entirely possible it was an Iraqi missile that came down in that marketplace," Mr. Boucher said.
Arab-language media, which were portraying the bombing as an American war atrocity, should not automatically assume the United States was responsible, he said.
He called on the news media to cover the facts of who was being "liberated and who's been fed" in Iraq.
But many media outlets around the world are unimpressed American efforts.
In Muslim Malaysia, one front page read "Bloody Bush war. It's a one-sided massacre of the innocent," while in Pakistan and Bangladesh, newspapers headlined the stiff resistance of Iraqi military against the allied troops.
In the United States the Nasdaq Stock Market and the New York Stock Exchange have barred Al Jazeera reporters for its "recent conduct during the war."
The Arab satellite television network retorted that it had a duty to show the world casualties on all sides in the Iraq conflict. "War has victims from both sides," said Al Jazeera Editor in Chief Ibrahim Hilal. "If you don't show both sides, you are not covering" the war.
In Jordan, where King Abdullah II is facing criticism from his own people for his quiet support for the war, the funeral of a Jordanian student killed in Iraq by a U.S. missile turned into a passionate show of support for Saddam yesterday.
About 1,000 angry mourners marched through the narrow streets and alleys of Hakamah, a small town north of the capital Amman, chanting: "We will sacrifice our souls and blood for you, Saddam" and "Despicable Bush, we will crush you with our boots."
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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