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Veteran Saudi presenter resigns from Al-Jazeera Arabic to conform with kingdom's anti-Qatar offensive Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Veteran Saudi presenter resigns from Al-Jazeera Arabic to conform with kingdom's anti-Qatar offensive

Al Jazeera has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours [AlJazeera]

Date of publication: 22 June, 2017

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A veteran Saudi journalist has resigned from broadcaster Al-Jazeera to stand in line with the kingdom's anti-Qatar "policies and laws".

A veteran Saudi journalist has resigned from broadcaster Al-Jazeera to stand in line with the kingdom's anti-Qatar "policies and laws".

Ali al-Dhufairi stepped down from his position on Wednesday amid an ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis, which has seen the Qatari channel banned in several Arab countries. It is not clear whether his decision is personal or the result of pressures from Riyadh, which has banned Al-Jazeera.

"Out of obedience to God and our rulers... out of favour to the nation and in accordance with its policies and laws, I resign from Al Jazeera," Dhufairi, who worked at the channel for 13 years, tweeted.

"I wish success to all my family and colleagues there," he added.

Dhufairi then re-tweeted a link by a Saudi journalist to an anti-Qatar opinion article reportedly written by Dhufairi in the Saudi daily al-Watan.

The newspaper later changed the byline on the article from Dhufairi's name to another Saudi journalist, Hadi al-Yami, according to local media and Twitter users who screenshotted the original publication.

The 41-year-old joined the Qatari broadcaster in 2004 and became well-known around the Arab world for presenting the political programme "In Depth", in which he interviewed key regional players.

The New Arab has reached out to Dhufairi and al-Watan for clarification on the author of the article but has yet to receive a response from either parties.

The 41-year-old joined the Qatari broadcaster in 2004 and became well-known around the Arab world for presenting the political programme "In Depth", in which he interviewed key regional players.

All diplomatic ties with Doha were cut on June 5 by several countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which accuse Qatar of supporting and funding Islamic terrorist groups.

Qatar strongly denies the charge and claims those countries which have cut links are trying to change Doha's foreign policy.

Qatari nationals were told to leave those countries within 14 days, and some 11,000 citizens from the Saudi-led alliance countries living in Doha were ordered home - a deadline which passed on Monday.

The countries banned Al-Jazeera, founded more than 20 years ago in Qatar, denouncing its alleged "Islamist" orientations. 

The channel has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours, who accuse the broadcaster of bias and fomenting trouble in the region. But critics say Al-Jazeera's independent line and criticism of the policies of neighbouring countries are the root of the problem.

Al-Jazeera said earlier this month that it was under a widescale cyber attack which had targeted "all systems".

Qatar foreign minister has said the country will not negotiate sovereign and internal matters including Al Jazeera's editorial line under pressure from its neighbouring states.

Pro-Emirati ommentators had suggested Qatar would have to shut down the broadcaster in return for restoring Gulf ties.

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