Media watchdog condemns Saudi closure of Qatar's Al-Jazeera
An international media rights watchdog condemned Saudi Arabia's decision to close the Riyadh office of Qatar's al-Jazeera broadcaster on Wednesday, after the kingdom and other Arab states severed ties with the emirate earlier this week.
Reporters Without Borders , also known as RSF, said al-Jazeera was a "collateral victim of (the) diplomatic offensive against Qatar," slamming Riyadh's decision to close the office and revoke the broadcasters’ operating licence.
The decision came hours after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on Monday announced they were severing all ties with Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism.
Egypt followed suit, and Jordan lowered the level of its diplomatic representation in Doha on Tuesday.
"Closing al-Jazeera's bureaux is a political decision that amounts to censoring this TV broadcaster," said RSF's Middle East chief Alexandra El Khazen in a statement.
Jordan also saidit was withdrawing licenses for the Amman bureau of the Doha-based television news channel.
Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours, who accuse the broadcaster of bias and fomenting trouble in the region.
Cairo has accused al-Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which it blames for violence after Egypt's military ousted the movement from power in 2013.
Three a journalists, including a Canadian and an Australian, were detained in Egypt between 2013 and 2015, triggering international protests.
Qatar has consistently denied the accusations against it, suggesting the recent joint decision to sever ties was based on “baseless fabricated lies” and a mere attempt at enforcing guardianship over Doha.