Al Jazeera Egypt channel shut down


Days after an Egypt-Qatar reconciliation was formalised, Al Jazeera’s Egyptian
channel Mubasher Misr (Egypt Direct) was shut down. The channel, which
comprehensively reported on rising tensions between the two countries, has been
accused of bias and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

The reconciliation, formalised by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the
Qatari Emir’s special envoy Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdel Rahman Al-Thani was
mediated by Saudi Arabia, which together with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates,
considers the Muslim Brotherhood to be a risk to its governing systems. Qatar,
which had protected exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders and was said to have
backed the Islamist organisation, agreed to reconcile and end an 18-month standoff
over its association with the group. A condition of this agreement was the
suspension of Mubasher Misr broadcasts.

Mubasher Misr was created in 2011 to report on events during Egypt’s revolution
and, following the military take-over in 2013, closed its offices in Cairo and
continued to stream Egypt-focused news live from Doha. Al Jazeera has denied any
biased reporting and all allegations of the channel serving as an Islamist
mouthpiece. According to the New York Times, a senior Qatari official who wished
to remain anonymous said, “We will always support the population of Egypt,’ and
added that Al Jazeera was “editorially independent,’ and that the other states
“should not create political issues just because a channel is broadcasting what is

Mubasher Misr is owned by the Qatari royal family and its closure is perceived as a
peaceful gesture, which many speculate may assist in the release of three Al
Jazeera journalists who were given seven to 10-year prison sentences for allegedly
aiding the Muslim Brotherhood in June 2014.


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