Organizations condemn Israel's forced shutdown of Al Jazeera

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On World Press Freedom Day last May 5, Zionist Israel forcibly expelled television network Al Jazeera from the country. Its forces attacked and closed its offices inside Israel, shut down its website, and banned all its journalists from reporting on events in Gaza from inside Israel.

The Foreign Press Association called the shutdown a “dark day for media” and condemned Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s crackdown on press freedom.

As early as April 1, Israel’s parliament granted Netanyahu the authority to close the station because it allegedly poses a threat to Israel’s security. It called Al Jazeera a “mouthpiece for Hamas” and its intensive reporting on the crime of genocide in Gaza and the West Bank over the past seven months “incitement of violence against Israeli forces”. During this period, Israel deliberately targeted the network’s journalists in Gaza, including their families. At least seven of its journalists were deliberately bombed and killed, and many were harassed.

Al Jazeera called Israel’s label of the network as a security threat a “dangerous and ridiculous lie”.

“Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemns and denounces this criminal act that violates human rights and the basic right to access information,” the company said in a statement. “Al Jazeera affirms its right to continue to provide news and information to its global audiences.”

The UN High Commission on Human Rights also condemned the closure and said a free and independent media is key to ensuring transparency and accountability. “Freedom of expression is a basic human right,” it said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists meanwhile warned that Israel’s actions against Al Jazeera is a bad precedent for other international media outlets operating in Israel.

Al Jazeera has played a critical role in reporting events in Gaza, especially in monitoring the events regarding Palestinian civilians on a daily basis. Although its office in the occupied territory of Israel has been closed, its websites and broadcasts to various parts of the world remain.

Al Jazeera Media Network was set up and is funded by the government of Qatar to cover events in the Middle East. Last year, at the beginning of the genocidal campaign, Israel also blocked the broadcast of AL Mayadeen, a news channel based in Lebanon.

AB: Organizations condemn Israel's forced shutdown of Al Jazeera