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Al Jazeera: Call for closure siege against journalism

Doha-based media network says the demand by Saudi Arabia and allies aims 'to suppress people's right to information'.

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera Media Network has condemned a demand by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries to shut the media organisation, calling it "nothing short than a siege against the journalistic profession".

The network said in a statement on Friday that the move aimed "to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people's right to information and the right to be heard".

"We assert our right to practice our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority and we demand that governments respect the freedom of media to allow journalists to continue to do their jobs free of intimidation, threats, and fearmongering," it said.

Al Jazeera called on its peers in the industry, media institutions and other international organisations to re-affirm their solidarity in defending media freedom wherever it may be.

READ MORE - Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

"Since its inception 20 years ago, Al Jazeera has been reporting and telling people’s stories from the ground and from all corners of the globe by putting the human being at the heart of the story," the statement said.

"We remain determined and resolute to continue our courageous journalism, reporting frankly, fairly, and truthfully from around the world."

'Internal affair'

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed sanctions on the country on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" - allegation Doha denies.

After more than two weeks, the four Arab countries reportedly issued a 13-point demand list on Friday in exchange for the end of the anti-Qatar measures and gave a 10-day deadline.

Associated Press and Reuters news agencies reported they obtained the list from unnamed officials from one of the countries involved in isolating Qatar.

The demands included the closure of all news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said that Al Jazeera Media Network is an "internal affair" and there will be no discussion about the fate of the Doha-based broadcaster amid the Gulf crisis.

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