8.06.2017

Israel moves to close Al Jazeera, ban its journalists | News

Israel’s communication minister has announced that he has made a request to revoke credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close the network’s offices in Jerusalem.

Ayoub Kara made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference, where Al Jazeera was barred from attending. 

“We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work,” Kara said, adding that the channel is being used by groups to “incite” violence.

Al Jazeera: Call for closure siege against journalism

Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday, said that the request to revoke the credentials cover all the networks journalists in both the Arabic and English channels. 

It was unclear when the request would take effect. 

Our correspondent reported that Israel is also seeking to shut down Al Jazeera’s cable and satellite transmissions in the country.

During the press conference, Kara also said that the interior ministry will also be involved in shutting down Al Jazeera’s office in Jerusalem.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been threatening to shut Al Jazeera’s operations in the country, accusing the network of inciting violence against Israel.

Al Jazeera demands press freedom

That includes Al Jazeera’s reporting of the recent protests over the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Rami Khouri of the American University in Beirut, denounced the plan saying it is “very typical of regimes” in the region. 

“Regimes that want to control power will almost always go after two targets – the media and the foreigners. Everybody goes after the media.” 

Aidan White, director of the London-based Ethical Journalism Network, called Israel’s decision “is a full frontal attack” on press freedom.

“It is a shocking statement, and it completely undermines Israel’s claims to be the only democracy in the region, because it gets to the heart of one of the most important institutions of democracy.

“This attack on Al Jazeera is really an attack on all critical independent journalism.”

In recent months, Saudi Arabia and Jordan both shut down Al Jazeera bureaus as part of a coordinated diplomatic and economic campaign against Qatar, base of the Al Jazeera’s hearquarters.

Al Jazeera’s signal has also been blocked in the United Arab Emirates. 

Egypt, which is also part of the blocking group, banned Al Jazeera several years ago.

Source: Al Jazeera News

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