Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

The British government has been urged to launch an investigation into allegations Al Jazeera has given a platform to support a terrorist group. (File photo AFP)
Updated 15 July 2018

Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

LONDON: The British government has been urged to launch an investigation into allegations Al Jazeera has given a “platform” to an extremist group linked to some of the UK’s bloodiest terror attacks.
The Qatar-owned broadcaster has featured members of the outlawed Al-Muhajiroun group on its Arabic channel on numerous occassions, prompting calls for action by the UK authorities.
While the clips are historic, the fact that they are still available online makes Al Jazeera “a vehicle for inciting terrorism,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global, a management consultancy focused on the Middle East.
Al-Muhajiroun was formed in 1983 by hate preacher Omar Bakri, who is currently in prison in Lebanon for terror offenses. It was banned in the UK in 2010 but has carried on under a number of guises.
The perpetrators of the 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby were linked to Al-Muhajiroun, as was at least one of the extremists involved in the June 2017 terror attack at London Bridge, in which eight people were killed and 48 injured.
Bakri had been a guest on historic Al Jazeera programs, and in one clip dismissed Britain’s non-Islamic laws, claiming they “do not concern us,” and defended his group.
Nuseibeh said that, because such clips are still accessible on Al Jazeera’s website, the broadcaster should be held to account.
“Anyone looking for material about Al-Muhajiroun can find this now,” he told Arab News.
“This is a clear breach of British laws and the fact that Al Jazeera continues to host those (clips) on its website, which is accessible in Britain, makes Al Jazeera a vehicle for inciting terrorism.
“The UK government is strongly encouraged to investigate why Al Jazeera continues to host interviews with this group and impose appropriate penalties.”
Nuseibeh said that Al Jazeera had featured members of the Al-Muhajiroun terror group on “many occasions,” allowing members to defend the terror group and openly criticizing the UK’s move to proscribe it. The Qatari broadcaster should be investigated by authorities, he added.
“It cannot be ruled out that Al Jazeera has contributed to recruiting members for the group in Britain, particularly among Arabic speakers, and therefore (has a) role in inciting terrorists.”
“Why hasn’t the UK banned Al Jazeera yet?” Nuseibeh tweeted earlier on Saturday. “Clearly (the UK government) should do more and take those pages down.”
Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.


Thailand suspends TV station over protests coverage

Updated 20 October 2020

Thailand suspends TV station over protests coverage

  • Thailand said on Monday that three other media organizations are under investigation
  • Protests have only gained momentum since the government announced a ban last Thursday and arrested dozens of protesters

BANGKOK: A Thai court on Tuesday ordered the suspension of an online TV station critical of the government, which has accused it of violating emergency measures aimed at ending three months of protests.
Voice TV had also been found to have breached the Computer Crime Act by uploading “false information,” digital ministry spokesman Putchapong Nodthaisong told reporters.
Thailand has drawn criticism from rights groups for banning demonstrations and the publication of news seen as damaging by the government as it tries to end the protests against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and the powerful monarchy.
Rittikorn Mahakhachabhorn, Editor-in-Chief of Voice TV, said it would continue broadcasting until the court order arrived.
“We insist that we have been operating based on journalistic principles and we will continue our work presently,” he said.
Thailand said on Monday that three other media organizations are under investigation.
Voice TV is owned in part by the Shinawatra family of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck, who was overthrown by Prayuth in a 2014 coup. Both fled Thailand to escape corruption cases they branded political.
Street protests since mid-July are the biggest challenge in decades to the monarchy under King Maha Vajiralongkorn and to Prayuth, who rejects accusations of engineering an election last year to keep power.
The demonstrations have been largely led by youths and students in contrast with a decade of street violence between supporters of Thaksin and conservative royalists before Prayuth seized power.
Protests have only gained momentum since the government announced a ban last Thursday and arrested dozens of protesters, including many of the main leaders.
A lawyer for two of them, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, said they would be arrested again on Tuesday as soon as they had been freed on bail granted by a court over earlier charges related to the protests.
Prime Minister Prayuth has said he will not quit in the face of the protests.
His cabinet agreed on Tuesday to hold an emergency session of parliament next week about the crisis. Prayuth’s supporters hold a majority in the parliament, whose upper house was named entirely by his former junta.