Snapchat’s Al Jazeera blockade an attack on media

 19 Sep 2017 - 11:38

Snapchat’s Al Jazeera blockade an attack on media

The Peninsula

After banning Al Jazeera on Saudi’s TV screens and blocking access to its site on the internet, Saudi Arabia government has now forced Snap Inc. to remove content of Al Jazeera from snap-sharing app Snapchat.

Resultantly, Snapchat has blocked access to Al Jazeera news articles and videos in Saudi Arabia following a request from the government, a spokesperson for Snap Inc said.

An action considered by Al Jazeera Media Network as direct attack against the freedom of expression which will have detrimental consequences to the media industry. Calling on Snap Inc and other global media organisations to reject demands of oppressive regimes to silence journalists.

Al Jazeera Media Network’s Dr Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General, said: “We find Snapchat’s action to be alarming and worrying. This sends a message that regimes and countries can silence any voice or platform they don’t agree with by exerting pressure on the owners of social media platforms and content distribution companies. This step is a clear attack on the rights of journalists and media professionals to report and cover stories freely from around the world.”

Mostefa Souag further stated “We at Al Jazeera, object to any form of censorship and restrictions to freedom of the media and the right to access information. 

Saudi Arabia’s government told the social media company that the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel violated local laws. “We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate,” a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday.

Morad Rayyan, head of Incubation and Innovation Research at Al Jazeera, said the move was “unprecedented”. “Snapchat is a US-based company, publicly traded, and it stands for freedom of expression.” 

“We are working on contingency plans to ensure our content is available on other platforms,” Rayyan said.

“We are urging them (Snapchat) to review the decision that was made. They were that ones who invited us to be one of their news partners for the region.”

“The channel will still be available outside of Saudi Arabia in 14 other Middle Eastern countries, alongside other broadcasters.

“The conflict is the latest example of a technology company being pinned in the crosshairs of geopolitics as it navigates censorship of content on its platforms,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

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 19 Sep 2017 - 11:07