Hamas bans two Saudi-owned networks from Gaza reporting

AFP , Thursday 16 Jul 2020

The Islamist group Hamas has blocked two Saudi-owned news networks, Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath, from operating in the Gaza Strip over allegations of false reporting, multiple sources said Thursday.

Hamas's interior ministry and Al-Arabiya both confirmed the ban, which was imposed over a report saying that Hamas had arrested several of its members for collaborating with Israel.

A journalist who works with Al-Arabiya, who requested anonymity, said the order bars "anyone or any business from providing services" to either network.

Al-Arabiya's office in Gaza was previously closed over a report concerning ties between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But it and Al-Hadath, which are Saudi-owned but based in Dubai, still work with freelancers in the Palestinian enclave.

Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, relies on substantial aid from Qatar, which remains the target of a Saudi-led regional blockade.

In a statement, the Palestinian journalists union denounced the reporting ban, saying "restrictions on press freedom and repeated shutdown of media" in Gaza were "contrary to national values and principles".

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