Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt

Posted By: Pti
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Dubai, Jan 30 (PTI) Qatar-based Al Jazeera newschannel, which has given nearly round-the-clock coverage tothe uprising against the regime of Egyptian President HosniMubarak, was shut down in Egypt today.

Egyptian authorities have shut down the offices of AlJazeera following the network�s coverage of riots in Cairo,the channel announced today.

The Egyptian authorities announced through the statetelevision that they are revoking the Al Jazeera Network�slicence to broadcast from the country, and will be shuttingdown its bureau office in Cairo, according to the Qatar-basedchannel.

Egyptian state news agency MENA said Al Jazeera�sjournalists had been stripped of their accreditation and thenetwork�s licence had been withdrawn.

"The Information Minister ordered....suspension ofoperations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences andwithdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today," astatement on the MENA website said.

Al Jazeera has been at the forefront of reporting onthe popular protests and riots that overthrew Tunisianpresident Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali and threaten to do the sameto Mubarak.

Before many others, the news channel flooded bulletinswith footage, streamed online and updated its Twitter,Facebook and blog sites.

A statement by Al-Jazeera today described Egypt''sdecision an act "designed to stifle and repress" openreporting.

The network has frequently been at odds withauthorities in the Middle East, previously facing bans orrestrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

In December, Al Jazeera�s Kuwait offices were closedafter the state accused it of meddling in domestic affairs.

Despite mounting pressure to quit, embattled PresidentHosni Mubarak has clung to power. The President last nightnamed intelligence chief and his close confidante OmarSuleiman as Vice President for the first time in his 30-yearrule.

He also chose aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq as newprime minister, hours after sacking the Cabinet and promisingdemocratic and economic reforms. Shafiq, a former chief of AirStaff, has often been mooted as a potential successor toMubarak.

Over 62 people have been killed in the country,including 35 in Cairo in massive protests around the country.

Several thousand people had also been injured, amid reportsthat even armymen have joined the protests against Mubarak''sautocratic rule.

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