Palestinian Authority Closes Al-Jazeera’s Ramallah Office
The Qatar-based satellite television channel al-Jazeera said Wednesday that armed Palestinian security forces shut down its bureau in the West Bank town of Ramallah, denouncing the Palestinian Authority's resort to force, said reports.
"Al-Jazeera was deeply shocked to see armed agents of the Palestinian security entering its offices in Ramallah and under threat of arms ordering its employees to stop working," the channel said in a statement, published in its website.
The action had no legal basis, the statement added.
"We have learnt that the Palestinian Authority was unhappy with the trailer for a documentary on the Lebanese war broadcast by the channel," the channel correspondent, Waleed Omari, was quoted as saying by the channel.
Their action sought "to change the tone of a television program by resorting to force, something all free media reject," he said.
Al-Jazeera said it hoped the shutdown of the office would be temporary, "to allow us to resume our mission as our viewers want," AFP quoted an official as saying.
Omari said that Palestinian police told the al-Jazeera staff to leave, without giving reasons.
Al-Jazeera, founded in 1996 shortly after Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani took power, has become immensely popular in the Arab world for its frank coverage of social and political issues.
In a telephone call with the channel, Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi described the closure as “regrettable and painful.” - Albawaba.com
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