Al-Jazeera bureau closed

New York, November 4, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday’s decision by Kuwaiti authorities to suspend Al-Jazeera’s Kuwait bureau.

Saad al-Enezi, the Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Kuwait, told CPJ he received a telephone call from the Ministry of Information yesterday informing him of the Kuwaiti government’s decision. He said that no specific reason was given for the decision, other than that Al-Jazeera was “biased” against Kuwait.

Al-Jazeera has received no written document regarding the decision or what government agency was behind it. Al-Enezi said he was not told if the closure was temporary or permanent.

This is not the first time Al-Jazeera has suffered reprisal for its reporting in Kuwait. In June 1999, the Kuwaiti information minister issued a decree prohibiting Al-Jazeera reporters from covering stories in the country. The next month, the decision was reversed, and the station opened a bureau in Kuwait in April 2001.

“These arbitrary restrictions on Al-Jazeera, including the shuttering of its bureau, clearly violates press freedom,” said CPJ executive director, Ann Cooper. “We urge the authorities to allow Al-Jazeera to resume activities in Kuwait.”