×

Demand for Al Jazeera Closure Dropped by Arab Nations That Cut Ties With Qatar

ROME – Demands that Al Jazeera be shuttered have been dropped by the four Arab nations engaged in a deep diplomatic dispute with Qatar, the home base of the pan-Arabic news network.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which broke off diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June, said Wednesday that they had revised the initial list of 13 demands they presented to Qatar in order to mend the rift. Among the dropped demands is the one concerning the closure of Al Jazeera, the most-watched news outlet in the Arab world, the Associated Press reported.

The four Arab nations had cut ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting Islamic terrorists and Iran. Qatar denies the allegations and has resisted its neighbors’ demands.

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference in New York, diplomats from the four countries urged Qatar to commit to six principles on fighting extremism and terrorism but refrained from mentioning any specific measures in what is widely considered a much softer stance and a diplomatic overture aimed at solving the standoff.

U.S. President Donald Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the dispute, but Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has reportedly been trying to mend fences.

“Al Jazeera Media Network rejects any external intervention pertaining to its  journalistic mission, or any other demand, and reiterates its independence and professional editorial stance,” the broadcaster said on Wednesday in a statement commenting the dropped demand.

“It’s clear that recent attempts by governments in the region and elsewhere to throttle the independence of the media are being met by condemnation by all leading international media institutions, with an urgent demand for an end to interference, intimidation, and threats,” the statement went on to note.

“Our obligation is to our loyal global audience and we assure to them, that we will continue to serve them with integrity and impartiality and  refuse to take orders from governments or anyone else pertaining to our editorial independence and the Network’s operation,” it said.

The diplomatic dispute in June caused Saudi Arabia to immediately shut down Al Jazeera’s bureau in Riyadh, revoking its broadcasting licence.

The Qatar-based satellite news network was subsequently banned in several neighboring countries, including the UAE, which also blacked out the sports channels of Al Jazeera’s closely affiliated beIN Media Group. This resulted in sports fans in the UAE being deprived of most premium content including soccer, NBA basketball and Formula One races.

It remains to be seen whether Al Jazeera and beIN will go back on air in the countries where their services have been pulled.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content