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[] LAT 11.10.02: Bin Laden CD Offered In Qatar,

Los Angeles Times October 11, 2002

Bin Laden CD Offered In Qatar

Terrorism: Publishing company hawks an $8 disc featuring footage of the Al 
Qaeda leader.

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer

DOHA, Qatar -- The latest CD to hit the streets may not yet be No. 1, but 
it is climbing the charts.

For about $8, Qataris can buy a 70-minute disc featuring Osama bin Laden 
discussing his views and urging forceful action against the United States.

The CD includes footage already seen on Arab-language network Al Jazeera 
and some that has never been broadcast, according to Dar Al Sharq Printing, 
Publishing & Distribution, which is distributing the disc as part of a deal 
with the network.

"We think many people will want to see and study this CD," said Mohammed 
Shareef, an official with Dar Al Sharq. "Sales are good today."

Dar Al Sharq is the parent company of the Al Sharq newspaper and the 
English-language daily the Peninsula. The two papers carried front-page 
announcements with the headline "Dar Al Sharq to Market Osama CDs Globally."

A journalist with one of the papers said the deal was "strictly business 
and information" and does not show any sympathy for Bin Laden's anti-U.S. 
views. The journalist, who asked not to be identified, noted that U.S. 
newspapers often publish special sections or books carrying the full texts 
of historic documents, such as the official investigation into President 

Although Al Jazeera has sold copies of Bin Laden videos to other media 
outlets, the CD is thought to be the first venture to make these images 
available to the public. The disc also includes footage of U.S. military 
action in Afghanistan.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera has repeatedly scooped other media by obtaining Bin 
Laden tapes, although it has often been unclear whether the tapes were 
recorded before or after the Sept. 11 attacks. Whether Bin Laden is alive 
continues to be a matter of debate.

The Bin Laden CD also illustrates one difference between Qatar and most of 
its Persian Gulf neighbors. Few nations in the region would allow sales of 
a CD that contains explosive political viewpoints adamantly opposed by the 

Qatar's ruling emir, Sheik Hamad ibn Khalifa al Thani, supports the U.S. 
offensive in Afghanistan and has allowed the U.S. military to use the 
mammoth Al Udeid Air Base outside the capital city.

But Hamad also has allowed a freer media in Qatar than under his 
father-predecessor, whom he deposed in 1995 before immediately launching a 
pro-Western modernization drive. Hamad abolished the Ministry of 
Information and ended formal censorship, although journalists continue to 
practice self-censorship, according to the U.S. State Department.

The ruling family is treated reverentially. On many days, a picture of the 
emir dominates the front page of the papers, accompanying a story about a 
new economic or educational advance.

The Bin Laden CD will be available in libraries, bookstores, shopping 
centers and supermarkets, Shareef said. Initially, it will be available 
only in Arabic. A version with English subtitles is expected within a month.

"We think Americans and others will be interested in this man," Shareef said.

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