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Israel to close Al Jazeera news network in the country

Saeed Qaq/NurPhoto via AP

Inspectors and police raid the Al Jazeera offices in Jerusalem, Israel, May 5, 2024.



CNN

Israel ordered the closure of Al Jazeera in the country, a move the Qatar-based news network called a “criminal act.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a message on »

Ofir Gendelman, the prime minister’s spokesman for the Arab world, said on Sunday that the decision would be “implemented immediately.”

In an article on Jazeera will be blocked on the Internet. »

The Israeli Ministry of Communications announced on Sunday that it had closed the network’s offices in Jerusalem and confiscated its communications equipment. “In addition, the network’s cable and satellite broadcasts were interrupted and access to its websites was blocked,” the ministry said.

Israeli cable operators stopped broadcasting Al Jazeera networks late Sunday afternoon, CNN journalists in the country confirmed. The Al Jazeera cable channel in Israel now displays a message stating: “In accordance with the government’s decision, Al Jazeera channel broadcasts have been stopped in Israel. »

Gendelman quoted Netanyahu as saying: “Al Jazeera journalists undermined Israel’s security and incited attacks on IDF soldiers. It is time to expel the Hamas spokesperson from our country.”

Video obtained by CNN on Sunday shows Israeli police accompanied by Israeli Security Agency agents entering the Al Jazeera broadcast site in Jerusalem.

Al Jazeera said the Israeli cabinet’s decision violated the human right to access information.

He continued: “Israel’s crackdown on the free press to cover up its crimes by killing and arresting journalists has not deterred us from our duty. More than 140 Palestinian journalists have been martyred for the truth since the start of the war on Gaza.

Several network journalists working in Gaza have been injured or killed since October 7.

Al Jazeera again denied Israel’s “false allegations regarding our violation of professional frameworks governing media work” and called on media and human rights organizations “to condemn the repeated attacks by Israeli authorities against the press and journalists.

The move comes a month after Netanyahu pledged to shut down the country’s television station following the passage of a sweeping law allowing the government to ban foreign channels perceived to pose a threat to national security.

Netanyahu told X in early April that he intended to “act immediately in accordance with the new law” to end the outlet’s activities in the country. Netanyahu’s government has long complained about Al Jazeera’s operations, alleging anti-Israeli bias.

The new law gives the prime minister and communications minister the power to order the temporary shutdown of foreign networks operating in Israel – powers that rights groups say could have far-reaching implications for international media coverage of the war in Gaza.

The spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, condemned the closure of Al Jazeera on Sunday. “As we have previously said, we strongly oppose any decision to restrict press freedom. A free press provides an invaluable service to ensure the public is informed and engaged,” Dujarric said.

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel described the decision as “a dark day for democracy” and “a source of concern for all supporters of a free press”, while the Committee to Protect journalists said it “sets an extremely alarming precedent for restricting international media working in Israel.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch condemned the decision as an “attack on press freedom,” according to a written statement shared on Sunday by Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch director for Israel and Palestine (HRW).

“Rather than trying to silence reporting of its atrocities in Gaza, the Israeli government should stop committing them,” Shakir said.

The move comes as negotiators met in Cairo on Saturday, aiming to reach a ceasefire and a deal on the hostages.

Negotiators have made progress on the technical aspects of a potential deal, but two Israeli sources say it could take a week to finalize the deal itself. Qatar has played a key role in ceasefire negotiations in the ongoing war.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

News Source : amp.cnn.com
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