Israel shuts down Al Jazeera Media

by ian

The Israeli office of a Gaza news agency is shuttered in Israel following the government’s decision to block broadcasts while the war continues.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday that his cabinet unanimously voted to close local operations of the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera. Officials branded the news agency the “mouthpiece of Hamas.” The announcement ends broadcasts within Israel but does not prevent Israelis from accessing videos posted to Facebook.

This marks the first time Israel has taken action against a foreign news outlet. The ban can be renewed in 45-day increments. The media company rejected the claim that it is a threat to Israeli national security while critics called Netanyahu’s decision an attack on the free press.

A civil rights group is already challenging the decision and has asked the Israeli Supreme Court to temporarily overturn the ban. The head of Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office has accused the government of wanting to silence other viewpoints.