Demand for Qatar to close down AlJazeera “unacceptable”: UN

Srinagar, June 30

A demand by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations for Qatar to close down its AlJazeera TV channel is an “unacceptable attack” on the right to freedoms of expression and opinion, the United Nations human rights chief said today, a media report said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar three weeks ago, accusing it of backing militants, then issued an ultimatum, including demands it shut down a Turkish military base in Doha, shutting AlJazeera and curbing ties with Iran.

The UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra´ad al-Hussein is “extremely concerned by the demand that Qatar close down the Al Jazeera network, as well as other affiliated media outlets”, his spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing, the report added.

“Whether or not you watch it, like it, or agree with its editorial standpoints, AlJazeera’s Arabic and English channels are legitimate and have many millions of viewers. The demand that they be summarily closed down is, in our view, an unacceptable attack on the right to freedom of expression and opinion,” Colville was quoted by the report as saying.

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