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DOHA: Bahraini authorities are so upset with Doha-based Aljazeera TV Channel that they are reportedly not allowing the Channel’s staff — both Qatari nationals and expatriates — into the country.
There is an unofficial entry ban on Aljazeera staff into Manama, say social networking sites in Qatar as well as in Bahrain. The move might be fallout of a documentary English Aljazeera telecast on Wednesday, they suggested.
This, however, could not be independently confirmed by this newspaper since it was a weekend and officials were not available for comment.
The documentary entitled ‘Shouting In The Dark’ aired a shocking account of the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.
The film follows the unraveling of the protests in Bahrain from its initial days last February and documents the ruthless ways in which the security agencies handled the uprising.
The documentary has, meanwhile, triggered a heated debate on social networking sites in Qatar and Bahrain with a majority of participants faulting Aljzaeera English Channel for its portrayal of the Bahraini uprising.
People have also been twitting messages with most of them saying that they are with Bahrain and that Aljazeera English Channel had no business focusing on the goings on in the neighboring Bahrain.
People commenting on social websites in Qatar say they wonder how the Bahraini authorities have been able to blacklist entire Aljazeera staff and not allow them entry into their territory.
“It’s surprising how Bahraini authorities come to know that a particularly Qatari visiting Manama is working with Aljazeera because Qatari passports do not mention the holder’s nature and place of work,” said a commentator.
Another commentator said that one of his fellow Qatari friends who went to Manama by air was not allowed entry into the country and turned back by the airport immigration authorities.
“This is even true of those going to Bahrain by road via Saudi Arabia, They are being turned back from the border although they are all Qatari citizens,” said yet another commentator.
According to still another commentator, a senior administration official of Al Jazeera who resigned a year ago, was also not allowed to enter Bahrain.
The commentators are largely unhappy with Al Jazeera English Channel and say they wonder why it is supporting Shia protesters in Bahrain and spoiling Qatar’s relations with the friendly neighbour.
At least one commentator said that he backed the Bahraini move to prevent Al Jazeera staff from entering the country because the English channel was constantly supporting the Shia protesters.
A website in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, reported yesterday that the Al Jazeera documentary could seriously strain Doha’s relations with Manama.