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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Jordan bans 'insulting' TV channel
King Abdullah
Jordan is under pressure for its moderate views
Jordan has banned a popular Arabic TV channel from operating on its soil after it broadcast criticism of King Abdullah's Middle East policies.

The government shut down the offices of satellite TV channel al-Jazeera in Amman and prohibited its correspondents from working inside Jordan.


The programme went beyond all limits, all ethics of the profession

Mohammad Adwan
Jordanian information minister
Jordan said al-Jazeera had broadcast a talk show on Tuesday in which speakers reportedly attacked the country's long-standing peace treaty with Israel, and criticised its policies on the Palestinians and Iraq.

The Qatari-based channel has long courted controversy with its hard-hitting coverage of the Muslim world, reaching new audiences with its exclusive broadcasts of speeches by Osama Bin Laden.

Jordan's Information Minister, Mohammad Adwan, ordered its closure on Wednesday.

Al-Jazeera presenter
Al-Jazeera takes flak from all sides
Al-Jazeera was "undermining Jordan and its national policies on purpose", he later told the French news agency AFP.

Tuesday's debate had gone beyond "all limits, all ethics" of journalism, he said, adding:

"It was pure defamation against Jordan and the royal family. The mediator of the programme and some participants did not hesitate to use insults."

Governments' bugbear

Al-Jazeera correspondents contacted by AFP said they had not been informed of the closure, which was announced by the Jordanian news agency Petra.

In 1998, Jordan closed down al-Jazeera for six months after a similar programme was broadcast.

It also recently drew strong criticism from both Iraq and Saudi Arabia for its reporting.

The United States has also voiced criticisms of its output.

The channel's popularity among Arab viewers stems both from its lively news coverage and talk shows on sensitive political, social and even sexual issues.

See also:

08 Oct 01 | Media reports
04 Oct 01 | Americas
13 Nov 01 | South Asia
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