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December 11, 2003In the line of fire. Al Jazeera moderator Dr Faisal al-Kasim defended the station's decision to broadcast footage encouraging Muslims to rise up and attack Westerners, saying, "we are in the business of scoops, especially in times of war".
The presenter came under fire during a panel discussion on the role of the media in re-building post-conflict societies and in coping with a clash of cultures. But the focus of much of the discussion fell on how media coverage after some conflicts had incited further violence.
Dr al-Kasim said the US media's attitude towards the Arab world in the wake of September 11 had left tensions between the two cultures at their lowest point. He came under fire from one member of the audience concerned about their broadcasting of messages from terrorists, such as Osama bin Laden, encouraging murder.
Panel chair, BBC News anchor Mishal Husain, asked the guest if he felt responsible for carrying a message asking Muslims to rise up against the US and the West.
The West always brags about freedom of expression and then it starts to muffle others, he argued. The conflict was between Al Qaeda and the US. Why would you want to listen to only one side? Do you want us to forget about Osama bin Laden altogether? If the US had got hold of one tape or another first they would definitely have broadcast it. We are in the business of scoops, especially in times of war."