Al Jazeera’s Twitter account temporarily shut down in Qatar as part of 'organised campaign' against the network

Al Jazeera’s Twitter account suspended in Qatar

The Arabic-language account of Al Jazeera was temporarily suspended on Twitter as part of what the Qatari network has called "an organised campaign", and follows the closure of Al Jazeera bureaus in neighbouring countries due to its alleged support of terrorist groups.

The account, with just under 12 million followers, was suspended for an unspecified reason early on Saturday (17 June).

Twitter's rules state that an account can be suspended for three main reasons: because it is posting spam, because it has been hacked or compromised, or because it "engages in abusive behaviour, like sending threats to others or impersonating other accounts".

The network wrote that the account "is currently suspended due to what seems to be an organised campaign and we are doing the necessary work to get the service back".

The account was restored by early afternoon Qatar time.

Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster owned by the government of Qatar. The Qatar government has been accused by neighbouring countries as well as the US President Donald Trump of supporting terror groups and having links to Iran.

Qatar has denied funding terror groups, but has had its borders with Saudi Arabia sealed, air space closed and diplomatic ties with Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed.

As the state-run broadcaster of Qatar, Al Jazeera is facing accusations of promoting terrorist "plots" from Saudi Arabia, which closed the broadcaster’s office this month, along with Jordan.

Israel is also reportedly considering shutting down Al-Jazeera’s bureau in the country. Its website was blocked by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain in late May.

Al Jazeera claims it is "not partisan to any ideology, group or government".

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) issued a rallying call to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners (including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Yemen) on Friday (16 June) to rescind calls on the Qatari authorities to close down and block Al Jazeera.

Seamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, said: "We strongly condemn the aggressive manoeuvres emanating from the Saudi authorities and its alliances. Their demands against Al Jazeera are shameful acts to clampdown on freedom of expression and the media. The escalating emergency is having a detrimental impact on people who are in no way to blame for this crisis."

Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

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