The New York Stock Exchange arbitrarily prevented the Al Jazeera network's financial analyst from its trading floor, as the television channel faces criticism in the United States for its coverage of the American and British attack on Iraq.
A stock exchange spokesperson said that the decision was based on its desire to minimize the number of TV networks on its floor, but no other network, in exception to Al Jazeera, has been banned yet.
The New York Stock Exchange withdrew Al Jazeera financial analyst Ammar Alsankari's pass, and also asked the other analyst, Ramzi Shibr, to turn in his pass immediately.
Exchange spokesman, Ray Pellecchia, said: "we had to focus our efforts on networks that focus on responsible business coverage." He described the Al Jazeera ban as "indefinite."
Several other news organizations have also been denied from entering to the exchange's Manhattan trading floor in the past few weeks, Pellecchia added, though he declined to name them.
"We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the media," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He added that the ban would set a bad precedent.
From Al Jazeera and Reuters
Translated from Arabic by Elias Saber