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On March 5, the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq carried the following report by Lubna Sha’lan: “The news satellite channel Al-Jazeera has apologized to all its viewers for utterances by the guest of last Tuesday's "The Opposite Direction" programme, which disgraced the religion of Islam and divine beliefs. The channel expressed its regret regarding the insults uttered by the female guest, which led the channel to cancel the re-transmission of the programme on Wednesday and Thursday. The channel emphasized its absolute commitment to adhering to the channel's charter of honour and the guidance of professional attitude.

“Tuesday's episode of the "The Opposite Direction" programme witnessed a fierce attack against Almighty God, the Koran, and Prophet peace be upon him. The guest in Washington launched a brutal attack to defame Islam, describing it as a religion of terrorism and violence which has no respect for the freedom of expression.

“For his part, Arif Hijjawi, chief of the Programmes Department in the channel, said: "Most of the times, every programme of Al-Jazeera stirs up certain reactions, but we cannot guarantee the responses of our guests during live programmes." He added that there are always serious efforts to realize a balance in all Al-Jazeera's programmes while taking into consideration the need to respect beliefs and deal with them in a way that does not offend the feelings of people everywhere.

“In the mean time, Al-Sharq learned that a state of extreme anger prevails in the various departments of Al-Jazeera, including Muslims and non-Muslims, who believe that the episode was not in line with the Al-Jazeera's long history of achievements and it's reputation for high professionalism and respect for all beliefs and divine religions.

“Al-Sharq also learned that Al-Jazeera received a large number of telephone calls, faxes, and e-mails from viewers inside and outside Qatar to express their annoyance with what the guest had said in the programme. In addition, Al-Jazeera's overseas bureaus received letters and visitors expressing condemnation of and annoyance with the episode and its guest.” - Al-Sharq, Qatar


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