NEWS

Al-Jazeera Under Pressure To Close

Qatar's neighbours issued a list of demands last month, one of which is to shut down the TV network

03/07/2017 14:49 SAST | Updated 03/07/2017 14:52 SAST
Matilde Gattoni

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt subjected Qatar to diplomatic and economic sanctions on June 23 and issued a list of 13 demands under threat of further action. Shutting down the al-Jazeera network is one of them, according to The Guardian on Monday.

The news network has been heralded as "the beacon of free Arab media ... that reversed the flow of information from east to west" and has been running for 21 years.

Al-Jazeera has given previously banned voices a platform and aired commentary and interviews on controversial topics, changing the face of news media in the region.

The Guardian article points out that it is Al-Jazeera Arabic, rather than the network's English channel, that is an area of contention. It has succeeded in creating political awareness among Arabs and raising social and human rights issues, and enforcing its view that Islamist groups will come to power in the region. The latter is something Qatar's neighbour's view as "heretical", says The Guardian.

The Arab regimes persecuting Qatar today see al-Jazeera presenting Islamist groups as legitimate political opposition as a threat. But "the problem for them is that Qatar seems to be on the right side of history".