Israel came under fire after it announced Sunday that it will shut down the news service Al Jazeera in the country. The Times of Israel reports that the country planned to close the service’s local offices and revoke the accreditation of Al Jazeera journalists.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Qatar-based service of inciting deadly terror attacks.
“Israel is to join regional Arab states that have already shut the station after accusing the broadcaster of inciting violence, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said,” the story reports. “Kara, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said he wants to revoke press cards from Al Jazeera reporters, which in effect would prevent them from working in Israel. Kara added he has asked cable and satellite networks to block their transmissions and is seeking legislation to ban them altogether. No timetable for the measures was given.”
The Times of Israel reports separately that the rights group Amnesty International condemned the move, calling the decision “a brazen attack on media freedom.
“The move sends a chilling message that the Israeli authorities will not tolerate critical coverage,” the group said in a statement released by Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at the London-based group.
She said Israel should “halt any attempt to silence critical media,” adding that “all journalists should be free to carry out their work without facing harassment or intimidation.”