CPJ Warns Israel Not to Censor Al Jazeera

Responds to effort to close Jerusalem bureau

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Israel should not try to censor Qatari-based broadcaster Al Jazeera (the network's U.S. operation discontinued broadcasts late last year).

CPJ was responding to a report on Al Jazeera that there was an effort to close its offices in Jerusalem and revoke its journalists' credentials.

The report cited a statement by Israeli Communications minister Ayoub Kara, a press conference Al Jazeera says it was barred from attending.

"We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work," Kara said, according to Al Jazeera, who also said the channel is being used by groups to "incite" violence, a charge that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has leveled and which Al Jazeera denies.

CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said censoring Al Jazeera could put Israel "in the camp of some of the region's worst enemies of press freedom," though he did not elaborate on who those were.

"Israel should abandon these undemocratic plans and allow Al-Jazeera and all journalists to report freely from the country and areas it occupies," he said.