Al Jazeera: Toulouse shooting video will not be aired


This screengrab from France 2 television shows an image of Mohammed Merah. The video was reportedly filmed by Merah's friends a year and a half ago in the suburbs of Toulouse.

Al Jazeera will not broadcast footage of the Toulouse shootings filmed by the gunman, Mohammed Merah, the news network announced today.

The announcement came shortly after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the video should not be shown "under any pretext."

An edited copy of the video arrived by mail at Al Jazeera's Paris bureau last night and was shown to French police. 

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Station executives met today at their headquarters in Qatar to discuss whether airing it was justified, bureau chief Zied Tarrouche told France's BFM TV.

They ultimately decided against it, Al Jazeera said in a statement, on the grounds that it did not add new information or correspond with the station's code of ethics.

The video, which was apparently filmed by a camera worn around Merah's neck, has been edited and mixed with music, religious chants and verses from the Quran, according to Tarrouche. All three shooting attacks are featured in chronological order.

"You can hear the shots and the cries of the victims," Tarrouche said.

President Sarkozy had earlier called on all TV stations that had access to the images "not to broadcast them under any pretext, out of respect for the victims and for France."

France's broadcasting watchdog, the CSA, also appealed to stations not to air the footage, as did the family of three of Merah's victims, Agence France Presse reported

The copy sent to Al Jazeera was accompanied by a handwritten note that Tarrouche said was written in French, but with several errors. Police do not think it could have been mailed by Merah himself, a source told BFM TV.

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