UAE silences Arab news channel
July 10, 2017
By Chris Forrester
Cable and DTH distribution networks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have cancelled their carriage contracts with the London-based Al-Araby TV news channel.
Al-Araby says, in a statement, that Dubai-based DTH operator OSN has ended its contract, as has Etisalat/E-Vision. “OSN and E-Vision have violated contracts signed with Al-Araby TV by stopping its broadcasts on their platforms without giving any reasoning,” the channel said. “Stopping Al-Araby TV broadcasts without legal justification can only be seen as part of a systematic campaign to silence voices and take away freedom of expression.”
The move is the latest in the diplomatic rift between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar. Al-Jazeera has similarly been removed from the cable options available to viewers in the UAE.
The channel accused the networks of “politicising business” by allowing the policies of the Emirati government to affect their contractual obligations in what it said was a “flagrant violation of international trade law. “We will pursue these companies legally and demand compensation for this damage,” it added.
Launched in 2015, the news and current affairs channel grew out of an on-line website and is backed by Qatar-based Fadaat media. Fadaat is a growing media company which seeks to develop media projects in the Arab world.
On July 8th, Saudi Arabia blocked access to Palestinian news website Arab48 following the publication of reports on Saudi-Israeli relations, notably one that highlighted Israel’s welcoming of Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as crown prince, according to Al-Araby’s web-site.