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Al-Arabiyya is an Arabic-language satellite news channel based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates which began broadcasting in February 2003, launched with an investment of $300 million from the Saudi-owned MBC, the Lebanese Hariri Group, and others. It initially presented itself as a less "sensationalist" competitor to al-Jazeera; its boss pledged "We are not going to make problems for Arab countries... We'll stick with the truth, but there's no sensationalism." Since then, however, it has angered several governments (Arab and Western) by giving airtime to their enemies.

In July 2003, this channel presented a tape in which Saddam Hussein qualifies his dead sons Uday and Qusay as martyrs that died for the honour of Iraq.

In October 2003, a State Department poll found it to be the most widely-watched news channel in Iraq, named by 37% of those with satellite dishes.

On 23 September 2003, Iraq suspended Al-Arabiya from reporting on official government activities for two weeks for what the Council states as supporting recent attacks on council members and Coalition occupational forces. The move came after allegations by pro-US Iraqis who state the channel has incited anti-occupation violence (by airing statements from resistance leaders), increasing ethnic and sectarian tensions, and being supportive of the resistance.

On 23 November 2003, the United States-appointed Iraqi Governing Council ordered Al Arabiya to stop all its Iraqi operations after the channel showed a tape from Saddam Hussein on the 16th of that month. The satellite broadcaster was accused of "encouraging violence and resistance". The head of Al-Arabiya in Iraq was told that he faced a year in prison if he violated the ban. A week before the banning, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described al-Arabiya as "violently anti-coalition". [1]

In May 2004, George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice appeared live on al-Arabiya following the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal to denounce the acts of American soldiers there.

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