Emiratis, Saudis in Qatari media face restrictions

March 09, 2014 - 1:46:34 am

DOHA: The tensions created by the surprise recall of  ambassadors of three GCC countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain — from Qatar seem to be escalating, with the UAE asking all its citizens working with Qatari media outlets to resign from their jobs immediately.

The ban is specifically directed at all UAE citizens working with Al Jazeera network, Al Sharq reports. 

In a related move, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Information has issued a decision banning Saudi writers and columnists from writing for Qatari newspapers, said the daily.

In an immediate fallout of the UAE order,  two Emirati journalists of Al Jazeera sports channel — Fares Awad and Ali Al Kaabi — have cancelled their work contracts with the channel. Both have been working for the channel for long. 

“Ten years of work in a professional environment with you will remain in my heart for ever. Goodbye colleagues,” Al Kaabi was quoted as saying in a posting on his Twitter account.

Several Qataris and other GCC citizens have expressed shock over the latest development because the three GCC states had said in their joint statement that they cared about the welfare of  people of the GCC countries including Qatar.

“ Politics is like a ghost chasing us (the Arabs) unfortunately,” said a posting in reaction to the report posted on an Arabic website about the resignation of the Al Jazeera journalists. “The rift has started,” commented another.

Meanwhile, an Arabic news agency — Quds Press — quoted a Qatari source as saying that the decision of the three GCC countries will not change the Qatari foreign policy , nor force it to withdraw from the Gulf Cooperation Council, according to Al Sharq.

The source also assured that the issue will not reach that level because the main difference is about the stand on the developments in Egypt. Qatar is only complying with its principles about hosting people and personalities who seek shelter in the country, said the source.

Such principles exist in all the GCC countries, added the source. For instance, the UAE hosted supporters of Mubarak regime and Saudi Arabia  hosted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (former Tunisian president). Those in Qatar are not political leaders. They entered the country long before the military takeover in Egypt. Qatar will never change its stance on what is going on in Arab countries, the source was quoted as saying.

The Peninsula