DOHA, Qatar — The popular Arab news channel Al-Jazeera, which the United States has accused of bias, has issued a code of ethics, vowing to “uphold journalistic values” and to be sensitive to the victims of the wars and disasters it covers.
The code, issued in a statement at the end of a two-day international media forum that concluded Tuesday, said the station would “strive to reach and deliver the truth, respect our audience.”
The statement pledged to “take into account the feelings of the victims of crime, wars, oppression and disasters, and the feelings of their families and the viewers.”
Al-Jazeera often has been criticized for its coverage of the war on Iraq, especially by the United States.
In June, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice accused Al-Jazeera of “purely inaccurate” reporting and suggested it was presenting a biased account of developments in the Middle East.
In February, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld branded Al-Jazeera and another Arab satellite station, Al-Arabiya, “violently anti-coalition” and accused them of turning Arabs against America.
Al-Jazeera also has been accused of being an outlet for the al-Qaida terrorist network, broadcasting videotapes and audiotapes purportedly from Osama bin Laden or his aides.
The station said it would distinguish between news, analysis and commentary to avoid “falling in the trap of propaganda and speculation.”
It also promised to “acknowledge any mistake as soon as it is made and take the initiative to correct it and avoid repeating it.”
Recently, Al-Jazeera has begun reading statements from militant groups instead of broadcasting their tapes, an attempt to limit rhetoric. It also has been editing out particularly graphic segments of militant videotapes.
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