Netanyahu shutdown Al Jazeera, new law allows for ‘security threat’ bans on global media


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau
Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu on Tuesday stated his intention to shutdown Al Jazeera the Qatari-based news outlet operation in Israel and said to do so “to act immediately in accordance with the new law.”

Netanyahu has pledged to close down Al Jazeera news network after passing of a comprehensive law on Monday, granted the government authority to ban foreign networks perceived as posing a threat to national security, media reported.

Al Jazeera Media Network has produced dogged, on-the-ground reporting of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, slammed the decision in a statement, vowed it would not stop the network from continuing its “bold and professional coverage,”.

The new law grants the Israeli prime minister and communications minister the authority to order the temporary closure of foreign networks operating in Israel.

According to media reports, Israeli parliament’s approval of the law on Monday came after Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas and growing public discontent and protests against Netanyahu over his handling of operations in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s government has complained about Al Jazeera’s operations, alleged an anti-Israeli bias.

Netanyahu in a statement issued accused the network of being a trumpet for Hamas and accused it of “actively participating in the October 7 massacre and inciting against IDF soldiers.”

Al Jazeera is funded in part by the Qatari government, said these were “slanderous accusations” that “jeopardize” not only the reputation of Al Jazeera but also the safety and rights of its employees worldwide.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement that rights groups condemned the move to shut Al Jazeera and the law’s potential implications. It was “deeply concerned” by the new legislation “.

“The law grants the government the power to close any foreign media outlets operating in Israel, posing a significant threat to international media within the country,” program director Carlos Martinez de la Serna said.

She added it would “contribute to a climate of self-censorship and hostility toward the press.”

Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir said that blocking Al Jazeera “marks an alarming escalation, and Israeli efforts restrict the freedom of the press and limit the access that citizens of the world have to the daily realities in Israel and Palestine.”

White House declared the reports of the move to shutter Al Jazeera “concerning.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing “The United States supports the critically important work journalists around the world do. And that includes those who are reporting on the conflict in Gaza”.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza the Israeli forces bombardment and ground operations iin Gaza killed 32,000 civilians so far.

Israeli and Qatari governments are facing critical period in their relations as Gulf State has played a key role in ceasefire negotiations in the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel.

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