Al Jazeera says Gulf dispute won’t affect editorial independence

Qatar’s Al Jazeera will maintain its editorial independence despite a regional diplomatic crisis that has isolated the small Gulf Arab state, the Doha-based broadcasting network’s acting director-general said on Thursday (8 June).

Mostefa Souag dismissed accusations by some Arab powers that Al Jazeera is interfering in their affairs through its reports and defended the network’s professionalism.

The state-funded television network is at the centre of the dispute in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and transport links on Monday with Qatar, which supplies natural gas to world markets.

After Souag spoke, a source at the broadcaster said it was combating a large-scale cyber attack on its media platform, but all its entities remained operational.

Founded in 1996 as part of Qatar’s efforts to turn its economic power into political influence, Al Jazeera won millions of viewers across the Arab world by offering uncensored debate rarely seen on other local broadcasters in the region.