Egypt blocks Qatar's al-Jazeera amid Gulf media war

Egypt blocks Qatar's al-Jazeera amid Gulf media war
2 min read
25 May, 2017
Twenty-one media websites, including Qatar-based al-Jazeera were blocked by Egyptian authorities, the ministry of interior said, amid an escalating Gulf media war.
Qatar-based al-Jazeera was among 21 websites blocked in Egypt [AFP]
Qatar-based media channel al-Jazeera and 21 other ‘terrorist’ news websites were banned in Egypt on Wednesday, the ministry of interior said, just hours after a media war erupted between Gulf states and Doha.

Huffington Post's Arabic edition, Masr al-Arabiya, Arabi 21 News, Rassd Nws, Ikhwan Online, Aswat Masriya and others were also blocked by authorities for allegedly "supporting terrorism", according to journalists on social media platform, Twitter.

Mada Masr was also among the platforms blocked by Egyptian authorities, according to a tweet posted by the agency’s journalist Hossam Bahgat.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain blocked al-Jazeera's Arabic's website just a day earlier, after Qatar’s news agency (QNA) published alleged comments attributed to the Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani that angered the Gulf states.

But Qatar swiftly responded to the comments, noting the state-run news agency was targeted by an "unknown entity", which published the fake statements on sensitive regional issues.

"The Qatar News Agency website has been hacked by an unknown entity," reported the Government Communications Office in a statement.

"A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published," with the department saying it is investigating the issue and will hold those found responsible to account.

The remarks claimed the Emir spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, strategic relations with Iran, as well as comments about the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, just two days after the Qatari leader and Trump met in Saudi Arabia as part of the president's recent visit to the Middle East.

QNA's Twitter account, which Qatar confirmed was also hacked, contained a false story in Arabic apparently from the country's foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, alleging Qatar withdrew its ambassadors from several nearby countries. The tweets were later deleted.

Qatar's Communications Office said the stories were completely untrue, and had "no basis whatsoever".

Meanwhile, Saudi and Emirati media channels, including al-Arabiya and Sky News Arabia, permitted the fake news to run for hours, despite the swift denial from Qatari authorities, prompting outrage among commentators in the Gulf.