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State Dept. Defends Raid on Arab TV Network

The State Department defended the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council's (search) banning of a major Arab television station, saying Monday that the aim was to try "to avoid a situation where these media are used as a channel for incitement."

Secretary of State Colin Powell has given interviews in the past to the station, Al-Arabiya (search), as well as Al-Jazeera (search), another Arab news channel. In September, the council temporarily banned them from government buildings and news conferences, saying the stations had been aware in advance of attacks the judgments and have to try to work out the situation."

The spokesman quoted the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' observation in a historic Supreme Court case that the Constitutional right of free speech doesn't grant the right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

"So, there's some of that judgment that has to be made, even while we encourage freedom of the press, and that's what the governing council is trying to do now," Boucher said.