Al-Jazeera staff at the broadcaster's Doha headquarters in June 2017. Qatar's neighbors have demanded the country close the station as part of negotiations in the current political crisis. (AP/Malak Harb)

Gulf countries order Qatar to close Al-Jazeera and other outlets

June 23, 2017 2:10 PM ET

New York, June 23, 2017--A group of Arab countries today issued Qatar a list of demands, including that the Gulf nation close media outlets that it funds, among them the broadcasters Al-Jazeera and Arabi 21, and the websites Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye. The demands are a prerequisite for lifting diplomatic and economic sanctions imposed by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, according to The Associated Press.

"CPJ condemns the use of news outlets as a bargaining chip and calls on all countries involved in this dispute to stop holding media hostage to political disputes," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "The Gulf region needs a vibrant free press and news outlets based there must be allowed to report freely."

News outlets have been targeted throughout the political tension, with authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan revoking Al-Jazeera's operating license and Bahrain and UAE announcing prison terms for anyone reporting sympathetically on Qatar, CPJ has found.

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