Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera added to list of banned websites

Published on 8 April 2015 in News
Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki (author)

Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki


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SANA’A, April 8—Al-Jazeera on Tuesday accused the Houthis of blocking the network’s website, signaling another stage in the group’s aggressive clampdown on media institutions in Yemen.

“The Houthi group has blocked Al-Jazeera’s Arabic website [nearly two weeks] after its armed men broke into the network’s office in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a,” a statement on the network’s website reads.

It continued, “Yesterday the Houthis added Al-Jazeera.net to a list of over 20 local and Arab Yemeni news websites that were blocked after Operation Decisive Storm was launched on March 26.”

Al-Jazeera claims that “directly after Operation Decisive Storm was launched armed Houthis stormed Al-Jazeera channel offices and soon after sabotaged the security cameras.”

On March 26, the Houthis stormed a number of media institutions in Sana’a, including Yemen Shabab, Suhail, Al-Masdar, and Al-Jazeera, employees from the media organizations told the Yemen Times following the shutdowns. While the offices remained closed, operations continue from abroad.

Al-Arabiya, based in Saudi Arabia, was also blocked but as of publishing time Wednesday evening, the news channel had not issued any statements commenting on the incident.

Al-Jazeera is owned by Qatar and Al-Arabiya by Saudi Arabia. Both countries are involved in Operation Decisive Storm, and both channels have displayed biased reporting on the war in line with their country’s interests.

The Houthis portrayed their clampdown on media offices in Sana’a as a response to the shutdown of media institutions under Houthi control. Earlier on March 26, the administration of the Egypt-based Nilesat and Saudi-based Arabsat, two satellite communication companies, stopped broadcasts of the Yemeni state-run channels under Houthi control. The channels included Al-Yemen, Al-Eman, Saba and Aden TV.

Abdulmalik Al-Ujari, a member of the Houthi Political Office, said “Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya publish false news about successes achieved by Operation Decisive Storm which is launched by the countries funding those channels and news websites.”

“Blocking those websites is a good thing for Yemen, they spread sedition between Yemenis.”

Mansur Al-Jaradi, head of the Sana’a-based Wujoh Media Foundation, said the Houthis’ policy of gagging media institutions is worsening the crisis in Yemen.“This is clear aggression against media professionals, and a flagrant violation of their right to spread information for people inside and outside Yemen,” he said.