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Thu 8 Aug 2002 04:00 AM

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Jordan closes Jazeera office and revokes journalist credentials

Reacting to a show that aired on Al Jazeera August 6, the Jordanian minister of information, Mohammad Affash Adwan closed the Jordanian offices of the Qatari based-Satellite channel and revoked the credentials and accreditation of the channel’s staff in the kingdom.

Reacting to a show that aired on Al Jazeera August 6, the Jordanian minister of information, Mohammad Affash Adwan closed the Jordanian offices of the Qatari based-Satellite channel and revoked the credentials and accreditation of the channel’s staff in the kingdom.“Jazeera intentionally means to harm Jordan and its pan-Arab stances sometimes directly and at times indirectly,” the state owned Petra news agency quoted Adwan as saying. “This channel has gone beyond all courtesy in its programmes and attacked the leaders of the nation,” added the minister.Petra said the decision made by the Jordanian government was in accordance with the Press and Publications Law of 1998 and regulations governing the work of correspondents from the foreign media dating back to 1999.The controversial show ‘Al Itijah Al Muakis’ which was aired on August 6, had an Arab American professor from the University of California, Asad Abu Khalil, Jordanian Mahmoud Al Kharabshi and host Faisal Al Qasim. Abu Khalil accused Jordan's late King Hussein and the founder of the Hashemite Kingdom, King Abdullah I of allegedly collaborating with Israel, having an agenda in Iraq and blasting the Jordanian Intelligence Service. Al Kharabshi adamantly rejected the claims of Abu Khalil and went to pains to say that they were baseless and with no foundation.A Jordanian who called into the show screamed at the host of the show Al Qasim and the Arab American Professor calling him a “Zionist” and urged Al Kharabshi to do the honourable thing and withdraw from the show.Jordan becomes the third Arab state in the last three months to take action against the news channel for airing shows that are controversial and cover politically-sensitive issues. Bahrain banned the Qatari based Al Jazeera network in May 2002 from covering municipal elections labelling it as “serving Zionism.” While Saudi Arabia took offence when a talk show, including Saudi dissident Mohsen al-Awaji, criticised Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's Middle East peace initiative, which attempted to put a halt to the escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israel in March and April 2002.ITP.net was unable to obtain a comment from Ibrahim Mahmoud Hilal head of editorial at Al Jazeera and managing director Mohamed Jasim Al Ali was not answering his mobile phone.

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