Al-Jazeera’s banner still taboo for Dems

Washington bureau chief says no reason given for sign's removal

NEW YORK — Arab satcaster Al-Jazeera isn’t being allowed to put its sign back up at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, even though party officials initially approved the skybox banner.

Al-Jazeera Washington bureau chief Hafiz al-Mirazi said Sunday that no concrete reason was given for ordering the sign removed late last week and he remains mystified as to the decision. Like other media outlets, Al-Jazeera is paying rent for the skybox in the Fleet Center.

“It disappeared for some reason,” al-Mirazi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during an interview from the floor of the convention. “Every time we ask, we get different answers.”

The banner didn’t have any Arabic; it displayed Al-Jazeera’s logo and the name of the satcaster spelled out in English.

Democratic officials didn’t say anything about the sign being a security risk, al-Mirazi said.

Al-Jazeera also has rented a skybox during the Republican National Convention, which gets under way in Gotham the week of Aug. 30.

This is the first time Al-Jazeera is covering a U.S. political convention.

Satcaster will provide 90 minutes of live coverage tonight and Wednesday, and four hours of live coverage on Tuesday and Thursday. Al-Jazeera is providing more primetime coverage than the U.S. broadcast news divisions, which are each allotting one hour of primetime coverage tonight, Wednesday and Thursday.

“We expect a big interest in it among our viewers. We are using the conventions to explain the American political process,” al-Mirazi said.

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