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Full Text: Station's Statement on al-Zaidi
Photo Gallery for "The Lion of Iraq" and Hundreds of Online Comments
12/15/2008 1:44 PM ET
Like its television broadcast, the website of al-Baghdadiya television has been dominated in the last 24 hours with commentary related to its correspondent Muntadhar al-Zaidi, currently in Iraqi custody after throwing his shoes at American President George Bush on Sunday at a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Also below is a photo gallery of al-Zaidi during previous assignments, which, like the statement features prominently on the al-Baghdadiya website, and a look at some commentary posted by website visitors.

Below is full text of a statement released by the administration of the al-Baghdadiya television channel:

Al-Baghdadiya channel demands the Iraqi authorities to immediately release its employee Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in line with the democracy and freedom of expression promised to the Iraqis by the new era, and by the American authorities.

Any measure taken against Muntadhar would recall the actions seen in the dictatorial age, random acts of violence and arrests, mass graves, and the violations of private and public freedom.

Al-Baghdadiya channel also demands that global, Arab, and Iraqi press and media institutions stand in solidarity with Muntadhar al-Zaidi for his release.

Executive committee Al-Baghdadiya Channel December 14, 2008

Here is the photo gallery of al-Zaidi on assignment, featured by al-Baghdadiya on its website.

Al-Baghdadiya.

Al-Baghdadiya.

Al-Baghdadiya.

Al-Baghdadiya.

Finally, in addition to viewers' on-the-air commentary on al-Zaidi's actions, the channel is also receiving hundreds of comments on its website from around Iraq, the Arab region, and from posters identified as Iraqi or Arab expatriates around the world.

The vast majority of the comments praise al-Zaidi's "heroism" and demand correspondent's release by Iraqi authorities. Writing in Arabic, English, and French, posters offer words of praise for al-Zaidi's "heroism" and "bravery," and demanding his release.

In Arabic, one poster says, "Bush says al-Zaidi does not represent the Iraqis -- no! I say he represents all Iraqis!" Another poster, writing in French, takes it a step further, saying Zaidi does not represent all Iraqis, rather he "represents all Arabs."

Another writes: "You have left a mark on history, Muntadhar, and we are with you. You have honored the Arabs and we are all honored by you."

Many posters have taken to calling the journalist "The Lion of Iraq," while one writes that Zaidi's show-throwing represents the "thousands of innocent Iraqi victims" and the "thousands of Iraqi displaced."

Very few posters among the hundreds leaving comments on the al-Baghdadiya website have criticized al-Zaidi's shoe throwing, saying that the action was inaproppriate for a journalist. None seem to suggest that the American president was an inappropriate target for the shoe attack.

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