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Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110130/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt_al_jazeera Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press 1 hr 40
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2011
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110130/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt_al_jazeera

      Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt
      By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press
      1 hr 40 mins ago

      DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Sunday that Egyptian authorities ordered the closure of its Cairo news hub overseeing coverage of the country's massive street protests, denouncing the move as an attempt to "stifle and repress" open reporting.
      The Qatar-based network has given nearly round-the-clock coverage to the unprecedented uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and had faced criticism by some government supporters as a forum to inspire more unrest.
      Al-Jazeera's flagship Arabic channel has faced numerous bans and backlash across the Arab world, including bitter complains this month from the Palestinian Authority over allegations that its reporting favored rival Hamas over leaked documents about peace talks with Israel. Al-Jazeera also broadcasts in English.
      But the ban by Egyptian official comes amid one of the most pivotal Arab political showdowns in decades. The blanket coverage offers another example of how border-spanning outlets such as Al-Jazeera and the worldwide reach of the Internet have destroyed the once-unchallenged media control of governments.
      Al-Jazeera called the Egyptian ban "an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists."
      "In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society, it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard," said the statement from its headquarters in Qatar's capital Doha. "The closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people."
      The network promised to continue its coverage, but it was unclear in what form. It said Al-Jazeera journalists would provide updates on Twitter. It had previously posted clips from broadcasts on YouTube, but there were no new items hours after the ban was imposed.
      It was not immediately clear whether Egypt's ban would extend to other Arab broadcasters, such as Dubai-based Al-Arabiya.
      Al-Jazeera has been frequently at odds with authorities in the Middle East, previously facing bans or restrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In December, its offices where closed in Kuwait after it broadcast a clash between security forces and opposition groups.
      The Qatari government bankrolled Al-Jazeera when it launched in 1996 and is believed to still fund the station, but it operates with considerable editorial freedom compared with other government-run media outlets in the Arab world.
      The network is part of a wider effort by Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to widen the Gulf nation's political and cultural reach. Qatar has taken a lead on several difficult regional issues, including peace talks for Sudan's Darfur region, and was selected to host the 2022 World Cup.
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