UK media watchdog giving Al Jazeera 'credibility', claim ambassadors


Ambassadors of Saudia Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain have written to Ofcom over the channel's 'sympathetic' coverage of militant groups

An employee of the Qatar-based news network and TV channel Al Jazeera is seen at the channel's Jerusalem office on 31 July 2017 (AFP)
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Last update: 
Friday 29 September 2017 12:12 UTC

The British broadcasting regulator has come under fire for giving "global credibility" to the Arabic-language version of Qatar's Al Jazeera network.

The ambassadors to the UK of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have written to Ofcom complaining that the channel has been giving "positive or sympathetic" coverage of the Islamic State group, including referring to it as an "organisation", rather than a militant group. 

They claim that Al Jazeera "seeks to gain global credibility" from the fact that Ofcom regulates the English-language channel. 

The four countries severed ties with Qatar over its links with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and demanded that the Emirate close the network as part of a list of 13 demands published in June.

An Ofcom spokeswoman told the Times that it had “passed this letter of complaint to the media regulator in Italy, where the [Arabic] channel holds its licence, for urgent consideration”. Al Jazeera Media Network did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Ofcom continues to investigate whether an Al Jazeera English-language documentary into the supposed influence of pro-Israeli lobby groups in the UK, which was broadcast in January, complied with its broadcasting code.