The demand by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt that Qatar shutter Al Jazeera, as well as other media outlets, as conditions for ending their ongoing blockade of the Gulf nation represents a bid to demonize journalism that should be opposed, IPI Executive Board Member Daoud Kuttab wrote last week.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post titled “Why Arab states are wrong to try to shut down Al Jazeera”, Kuttab, a prominent Palestinian-American journalist based in Jordan, accuses the four states of seeking to stifle the flow of balanced in a bid that “appears to reflect jealousy and internal fighting” rather than a real effort to “stop hate speech or incitement to violence”.

Acknowledging Al Jazeera’s past “mistakes” and charges that the broadcaster lacks “total balance”, Kuttab nonetheless wrote: “The media is a conduit of news and commentary and should not become a part of any conflict between neighboring countries. Instead of trying to kill the messenger, the best way to respond to content that is unfavorable is to produce countering content, not to punish the media or the country that is supporting it.”

Read Kuttab’s full article

Read IPI’s report on the recent closure of several Al Jazeera bureaus