Diplomatic war in the Gulf: More than fifty journalists from other Gulf countries working for Al Jazeera in Doha are losing their citizenship!?
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Translation: Fairpress
Fairpress is still one of the rare media outlets keeping track of the diplomatic war in the Gulf, trying to untangle the Gordian knot which currently has at its focal point the banning of the work of Qatari television network Al Jazeera by 5 Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain).

After having reported in detail in the previous article about the developments which preceded the banning of the work of Al Jazeera in these countries and the pressures put on Qatar in order for Al Jazeera to be completely banned accompanied by the thunderous silence of the West, we continue to transfer information and viewpoints of the actors of these events and the ones who know the region first hand.

Yesterday, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on the authorities of a large number of Arab states to stops using journalists as “political footballs”. The call came as a reaction to the announcement of the closing down of Al Jazeera and it being blocked in some countries which has a devastating impact on journalists and their families, IFJ stated.

Furthermore, they warned that more than fifty journalists from other Gulf countries currently working for Al Jazeera in Doha are under pressure to lose their citizenship following a crisis which threatens the future of Al Jazeera, but also the future of other media as well. Namely, journalists working in Doha, but who are from other Gulf countries, have been told that they must leave the country or they’ll lose their right to return home or will even lose their citizenship.

Saudi Arabia has joined Bahrain in banning tourist destinations from airing Al Jazeera; violating these injunctions will be punished with a fine of up to

23,800 euros, a revocation of tourism licences and even imprisonment. Even citizens can be fined with 2700 euros if they are caught watching Al Jazeera.

We asked former editor of Al Jazeera, Ruben Banerjee, for a comment on this crisis and on the impact it has on Al Jazeera:

The news media has never been independent and the current media coverage reflects the deep regional divisions. Each media outlet is batting for the nation that hosts or owns them. If Egyptian media or the UAE media are going after Qatar, it is well to be expected; They are nothing but glorified mouthpieces of the respective countries.

Al Jazeera is more professional and therefore a cut above the rest. But that said, it too is not completely free and does reflect the Qatar foreign policy.

The current crisis does pose a threat to Al Jazeera. It is unlikely Qatar will capitulate totally to the demands of Saudi Arabia and others and shut down Al Jazeera. Qatar would completely lose face then as a sovereign nation. But given the pressure it is under, Qatar may yield some ground and the tone and tenor of Al Jazeera might be watered down. Rabble-rousing reportage of the Arab streets will likely be replaced by more nuanced reportage, Ruben Banerjee for Fairpress.

Fairpress will continue to monitor the development of the dispute and the events surrounding the Al Jazeera TV network in the days and weeks to follow, by talking to all of the sides involved.

This article has been created with the help of the Fund for Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity in Electronic media within the project “Media reality” – Development and promotion of the programme of media literacy

Related article: Diplomatic war in the Gulf. Most influential countries of the Gulf are banning Al Jazeera and demanding of Qatar to shut it down completely. The west remains silent!

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