Saudis block Palestine's Arab48 news website amid region-wide crackdown

Saudi Arabia blocks Palestine's Arab48 news website in region-wide crackdown on freedom of speech
2 min read
08 July, 2017
Saudi authorities blocked Arab48 on Saturday, the publication said, in the latest crackdown on media platforms in the region.
The Palestinian daily news website recently reported on Saudi-Israeli relations [Website]
Saudi Arabia blocked a Palestine daily on Saturday, in the latest blow to freedom of speech amid an ongoing region-wide crackdown on various media platforms.

The website for Arab48 was banned across the kingdom, after a number of reports noting Saudi-Israeli relations were published by the publication, mainly one which pointed toward Israel’s welcoming of Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as crown prince.

The publication, which was neither warned nor provided with a reason for the ban, said it was bewildered that "in the 21st century, in light of the information revolution and the free flow of information, there are those who think that it is possible to cover the sun with sieve, especially with regard to Saudi-Israeli relations".

It said the ban was assumed to be in response to the website’s support for the struggles of the Arab people, including freedom and the fight against sectarianism, as well as its stance against the Israeli occupation.

The latest development comes as international rights organisations condemned the kingdom for its role in a region-wide crackdown on publications amid an ongoing blockade against Qatar.

In June, Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, announced the severing of all diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations the emirate allegedly bankrolled Islamist extremists and had close ties with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran.

Then, on June 22, they issued a  list of demands, which includes the shutting down of Doha-based Al-Jazeera channel and the London-based The New Arab, in order to lift the sanctions.

Qatar, which denies being a supporter of extremism, rejects the "unrealistic" demands as an attempt by the Gulf states to undermine the nation's sovereignty.