Morocco suspends Al-Jazeera TV

Morocco has suspended the operations of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television news channel in Rabat and withdrawn the accreditations of its staff.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 29 Oct 2010, 8:11 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:29 AM

The commmunications ministry said Friday. thatthe sanctions followed “numerous failures in (following) the rules of serious and responsible journalism.”

The Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Rabat, Palestinian Abdelkader Kharroubi, told AFP that the channel “has always respected the rule of professionalism and neutrality, particularly in Morocco.”

He added that “unfortunately the question of Al-Jazeera is not only in the hands of the communications ministry. Other parties decide at this level.”

Without identifying these “parties”, Kharroubi said the suspension was “a mistake on the part of the Moroccan authorities, a mistake which has nothing to do with us.”

A government official who declined to be named said the authorities took exception “to the way Al-Jazeera handles the issues of Islamists and Western Sahara.”

More than 2,000 militants have been arrested and sentenced in Morocco since the Casablanca bombings of May 16, 2003.

A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco after settlers withdrew in 1975. The move was violently opposed by separatist Polisario guerrillas until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.

Polisario wants a UN-organised referendum that would give the Sahrawi people three choices: attachment to Morocco, independence or autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.

Morocco backs the option of broad autonomy for the territory, but rejects any notion of independence for Western Sahara.

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