Al-Jazeera slams ‘unjustified’ closure of Saudi office
Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s decision to shut its office in the kingdom as part of the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf was “unjustified”.
In a statement, the global news channel condemned Riyadh’s move and called on Saudi Arabia to allow its journalists to continue to work “free of intimidation and threats”.
“We firmly believe these are unjustified measure(s) by the authorities in the kingdom against the network and its operations,” the statement said.
“In spite of restriction(s) imposed on the network, Al-Jazeera will continue to cover the news and current affairs from the region and beyond (in a) balanced objective manner”.
As well as closing the office, Saudi Arabia withdrew the channel’s licence needed to broadcast.
It also accused Al-Jazeera of promoting “terrorist groups” and supporting rebels in Yemen.
The move came as Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states and Egypt, severed ties with Qatar.
Separately, beIn Sports, a subsidiary satellite network of Al-Jazeera, went offline in the United Arab Emirates, which was also among those to cut relations with Qatar.
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.
Egypt 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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