Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt

Last Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 21:26

Dubai: Qatar-based Al Jazeera news
channel, which has given nearly round-the-clock coverage to
the uprising against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak, was shut down in Egypt on Sunday.

Egyptian authorities have shut down the offices of Al
Jazeera following the network’s coverage of riots in Cairo,
the channel announced today.

The Egyptian authorities announced through the state
television that they are revoking the Al Jazeera Network’s
licence to broadcast from the country, and will be shutting
down its bureau office in Cairo, according to the Qatar-based
channel.

Egyptian state news agency MENA said Al Jazeera’s
journalists had been stripped of their accreditation and the
network’s licence had been withdrawn.

"The Information Minister ordered....suspension of
operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and
withdrawing accreditation to its entire staff as of today," a
statement on the MENA website said.

Al Jazeera has been at the forefront of reporting on
the popular protests and riots that overthrew Tunisian
president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali and threaten to do the same
to Mubarak.

Before many others, the news channel flooded bulletins
with footage, streamed online and updated its Twitter,
Facebook and blog sites.

A statement by Al-Jazeera today described Egypt`s
decision an act "designed to stifle and repress" open
reporting.

The network has frequently been at odds with
authorities in the Middle East, previously facing bans or
restrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

In December, Al Jazeera’s Kuwait offices were closed
after the state accused it of meddling in domestic affairs.

Despite mounting pressure to quit, embattled President
Hosni Mubarak has clung to power. The President last night
named intelligence chief and his close confidante Omar
Suleiman as Vice President for the first time in his 30-year
rule.

He also chose aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq as new
prime minister, hours after sacking the Cabinet and promising
democratic and economic reforms. Shafiq, a former chief of Air
Staff, has often been mooted as a potential successor to
Mubarak.

Over 62 people have been killed in the country,
including 35 in Cairo in massive protests around the country.

Several thousand people had also been injured, amid reports
that even armymen have joined the protests against Mubarak`s
autocratic rule.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 21:26

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