Media watchdog condemns Saudi closure of Al-Jazeera

Jordan said on it was withdrawing licenses for the Amman bureau of the Doha-based television news channel.

Published: 08th June 2017 01:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2017 02:15 AM   |  A+A-

Staff members of Al-Jazeera International work at the news studio in Doha, Qatar. |File Photo: AP


BEIRUT: Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday condemned Saudi Arabia's decision to close the Riyadh office of Qatar's Al-Jazeera broadcaster after the kingdom and other Arab states severed ties with the emirate.

The media rights group, also known as RSF, said Al-Jazeera was a "collateral victim of (the) diplomatic offensive against Qatar," slamming Riyadh's decision to close Al-Jazeera's office and revoke its operating licence.

The decision came hours after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on Monday announced they were severing all ties with Qatar over its alleged support to extremism.

Egypt followed suit, and Jordan lowered the level of its diplomatic representation in Doha.

"Closing Al-Jazeera's bureaux is a political decision that amounts to censoring this TV broadcaster," said RSF's Middle East chief Alexandra El Khazen in a statement.

Jordan also said on Tuesday it was withdrawing licenses for the Amman bureau of the Doha-based television news channel.

Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours, who accuse the broadcaster of bias and fomenting trouble in the region.

Cairo has accused Al-Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which it blames for violence after Egypt's military ousted the movement from power in 2013.

Three Al-Jazeera journalists, including a Canadian and an Australian, were detained in Egypt between 2013 and 2015, triggering international protests.

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