Israel's Al Jazeera censorship an 'attack' on press freedom

Israel censorship of Al Jazeera is a 'brazen attack' on press freedom, says Amnesty International
2 min read
07 August, 2017
Amnesty International has called on Israel to cease its 'brazen attack' on free media in the country and occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel has often accused al-Jazeera of bias in its coverage [AFP]

Amnesty International has blasted Israel's decision to close the offices of broadcaster Al Jazeera as a "brazen attack on media freedom", the rights watchdog said in a statement on Monday.

"The move sends a chilling message that the Israeli authorities will not tolerate critical coverage," said Amnesty's deputy Middle East and North Africa Director Magdalena Mughrabi.

"This is a brazen attack on media freedom in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

Mughrabi urged Israel to "halt any attempt to silence critical media", saying that "all journalists should be free to carry out their work without facing harassment or intimidation".

Israel said it would close Al Jazeera's bureau in Jerusalem, the network's cable and satellite connections in the country and revoke journalists' credentials.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on 27 July that he wanted the broadcaster expelled amid tensions over increased security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Israel's move against Al Jazeera brings Tel Aviv in line with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE and Egypt, who recently demanded that the Doha-based network be closed down.

Israel has regularly accused the Doha-based broadcaster of bias in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Al Jazeera has in response said it will be taking appropriate legal action against Israel.