Arab media cautious about pictures of murder

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The Independent Online

A newspaper in Kuwait published a picture yesterday of one of the masked killers of the American businessman Nick Berg holding the man's severed head, although Arab media generally reacted with caution to the gruesome murder.

A newspaper in Kuwait published a picture yesterday of one of the masked killers of the American businessman Nick Berg holding the man's severed head, although Arab media generally reacted with caution to the gruesome murder.

The Arab television networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya played edited extracts of the video that showed the killing. "The news story itself is strong enough," Jihad Ballout, a spokesman for Al-Jazeera, said. "To show the actual beheading is out of the realm of decency."

Some Middle East newspapers, including Syrian official newspapers, ignored the murder altogether, although this may have been related to the late hour of the video broadcast on Tuesday by an Islamist website linked to al-Qa'ida.

Kuwait's Al-Siyassah newspaper, which ran two photos, was apparently the only daily in the Arab world to show his decapitated head. In many Arab newspapers, the beheading was displayed less prominently than the news of America's imposing sanctions on Syria and the killing of six Israeli soldiers in Gaza City.

In Iraq, where the murder did not make the newspapers, Baghdad residents condemned the beheading, including residents of areas where opposition to the occupation is strong. "We denounce this act. No one can accept the killing of a human being in this horrible way," Yassir Saleh, a 30-year-old barber said.

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