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Arabsat removes Al-Mayadeen channel

Lebanon-based Arabic all-news channel al-Mayadeen has been taken off the air by Arabsat.

The channel’s stated main aim has to be to counter-balance what it describes as the bias of the Saudi Arabian-owned Al Arabiya and Qatari-backed Al Jazeera news channels.

However, the Beirut channel has been a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia. Programme director of the channel is Ghassan bin Jaddou, who was a former talk-show host on Al Jazeera, and he has recruited a number of high-profile Al Jazeera journalists and staff.

During a press conference later on November 6th, Jaddou pointed to pressure from certain Arab countries, which, according to him, asked al-Mayadeen not to deal with the Saudi war on Yemen as a humanitarian issue and refrain from covering the Saudi strikes on Yemeni civilian targets.

The Tehran Times quotes him as saying that criticism of the channel’s coverage of developments regarding the recent deaths in Mina, near the Saudi city of Mecca, during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals as well as its coverage of news concerning Palestinian resistance as other reasons why pressure was exerted on the channel.

Controversial British political figure George Galloway is a frequent presenter on the channel.

The channel’s removal has been much criticised in Palestinian circles as a “clear act of hostility against freedom of speech” and a violation of media ethics.

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