Al-Jazeera Banned in Egypt

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Murphy Associated Press

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. The station denounced 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 and other Arab leaders 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 complaints 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 officials comes amid one of the most pivotal Arab political showdowns in decades and a possible watershed moment for Arab networks expanding their presence on the web and social media. 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 control of media by governments. …