Saudi Arabia blocks Al Jazeera on Snapchat


Social media company says action against Qatar channel was taken at request of Saudi government

A Saudi man checks his phone during a football match in Riyadh in 2014 (AFP)
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Last update: 
Monday 18 September 2017 8:21 UTC

Global image messaging service Snapchat has scrubbed Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera from its app in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi authorities, the company said on Monday. 

"We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate," a spokesman for parent company Snap Inc. said. 

The request to block Al Jazeera's Snapchat presence in the kingdom was made before the weekend, the company told AFP.

According to Snap Inc., the Saudi ministry of culture and information found Al Jazeera's Discover Publisher Story channel to be in violation of local laws.

Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have been boycotting Qatar since 5 June in the region's worst diplomatic crisis in years.

They sealed the emirate's only land border, ordered its citizens to leave and closed their airspace and waters to Qatari flights and shipping.

They also demanded that it close broadcasting giant Al Jazeera.

Until now, Al Jazeera's Snapchat channel can still be viewed in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. 

Saudi Arabia, with its bulging youth population, is among the world's top users of social media per capita. The internet represents a limited space for freedom of expression in the conservative kingdom.