Egypt Threatens to Pull Plug on Qatari-Based TV Station
Egypt threatened on Thursday to pull the plug on the Qatari-based Jezirah satellite television channel's operations here unless it stopped attacking President Hosni Mubarak and his country.
"I hope Jezirah stops attacking Egypt, otherwise I will be forced to take measures against this channel and decide on stopping all cooperation with it," Information Minister Safwat al-Sherif said on Egyptian television.
Sherif said he could forbid the channel from "having studios and correspondents in Egypt, and even ban this channel from broadcasting by satellite from Egypt."
The minister accused Jezirah of focusing "its broadcasts only on attacks against Egypt and its president" Mubarak as well as "trying to divide Arab ranks.
"This channel broadcasts from a brother country (Qatar) but it tries to abort any common Arab action," Sherif said, speaking live by telephone to the "Good Morning Egypt" program.
Jezirah offers airtime to opposition members in Arab countries.
In the last few days, several opposition commentators and Palestinian Islamists appeared on the channel severely criticizing Egypt's role during the Arab summit, which took place Saturday and Sunday in Cairo.
They accused Egypt of helping orchestrate "too moderate" a stand against Israel at the meeting.
For several days, editorialists for the Egyptian government press have attacked Jezirah.
On Thursday, an editorialist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar called on journalists and Egyptian intellectuals to boycott the channel and refuse to take part in its programs.
He also accused the Qatari channel of attacking Egypt "without daring to speak about Qatar's positions on the Intifada (Palestinian uprising) and without daring to discuss the reasons, which led this country not to close the Israeli trade office in Doha" -- CAIRO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)