Breaking: Al Jazeera in Cairo Reportedly Being Shut Down and Losing Press CredentialsPosted: January 30, 2011
Al Jazeera English correspondent Dan Nolan:
(in case you are confused, the tweets are breaking news from today, not five days ago–people on twitter are using the #Jan25 tag to keep things consistent for people to follow the tweets on the protests from day to day.)
Al Jazeer English producer Evan Hill:
And, first order of business, Al Jazeera’s operations are being shut down in Egypt. Announcement just went out. #jan25
State TV announces Al Jazeera’s broadcasting license and press cards are being revoked. Our bureau is packing up. #jan25
Several aspects of the apparent government shutdown of AJ remain unclear, we’re all waiting now. No one has come to turn us off. #jan25
Updates from Hill:
Al Jazeera English is now off the air in Egypt. TV is picking up no signal. #jan25
Back and forth – our TV is now picking up Al Jazeera English in Cairo again. I’ll refrain from updating this again until it’s clear. #jan25
Update on Al Jazeera being shut down
Al Jazeera released a statement on Sunday that it “strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government.” The network says it received notification from authorities on Sunday morning that information minister [Anas al-Fikki] had ordered the suspension of Al Jazeera. It also vowed to “continue its strong coverage regardless.”
Update on news about US response to Egyptian protests
Just saw this on memeorandum.com from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace — “A Need For Free and Fair Elections in Egypt: A Statement by the Working Group on Egypt“:
Amidst the turmoil in Egypt, it is important for the United States to remain focused on the interests of the Egyptian people as well as the legitimacy and stability of the Egyptian government.
Only free and fair elections provide the prospect for a peaceful transfer of power to a government recognized as legitimate by the Egyptian people. We urge the Obama administration to pursue these fundamental objectives in the coming days and press the Egyptian government to:
- call for free and fair elections for president and for parliament to be held as soon as possible;
- amend the Egyptian Constitution to allow opposition candidates to register to run for the presidency;
- immediately lift the state of emergency, release political prisoners, and allow for freedom of media and assembly;
- allow domestic election monitors to operate throughout the country, without fear of arrest or violence;
- immediately invite international monitors to enter the country and monitor the process leading to elections, reporting on the government’s compliance with these measures to the international community; and
- publicly declare that Hosni Mubarak will agree not to run for re-election.
We further recommend that the Obama administration suspend all economic and military assistance to Egypt until the government accepts and implements these measures.
Laura Rozen at Politico — “Ex-officials urge Obama to suspend aid to Egypt“:
A bipartisan group of former U.S. officials and foreign policy scholars is urging the Obama administration to suspend all economic and military aid to Egypt until the government agrees to carry out early elections and to suspend Egypt’s draconian state of emergency, which has been in place for decades.
“We are paying the price for the fact that the administration has been at least of two minds on this stuff, and we should have seen it coming,” said Robert Kagan, co-chair of the bipartisan Egypt working group, regarding what many analysts now say is the inevitable end of Hosni Mubarak’s thirty year reign as Egypt’s president.
Though the Obama administration has tried to look like it’s not picking sides in urging restraint from violence amid five days of Egyptian unrest calling for Mubarak to step down, “the U.S. can’t be seen as neutral when it’s giving a billion and a half dollars” to prop up the Mubarak regime, Kagan said.
The position of the Obama administration has been unclear. While administration officials have condemned abuses of civil liberties, they’ve also fallen short of endorsing Mubarak’s ouster or ending support for the regime, with Vice President Joe Biden even going as far as to say that Mubarak isn’t a dictator.
The United States gives nearly $2 billion in aid to the Egyptian regime every year, and offers diplomatic and military cooperation that helps bolster Mubarak. As protesters continue to be beaten, tortured, and killed by internal security forces, it’s important to know that these abuses are being subsidized by U.S. taxpayer dollars. Threatening to reduce or eliminate this monetary assistance to the Egyptian regime would be a powerful tool that the United States could use to help advance democracy and promote freedom in the country.
Update from Brian Whitaker (Guardian ME editor from 2000-2007) at al-bab.com
Among other things, Whitaker reports that:
On the streets, something strange happened yesterday: the police melted away and looters moved in. There were repeated allegations that the looters were in fact plainclothes police and other members of the security apparatus whose aim was to cause mayhem and provide the excuse for a harsh crackdown. However, Egyptians responded by setting up their own neighbourhood protection committees – a move that seems to have been relatively effective. (There were similar stories of government-instigated looting during the latter stages of the Tunisian uprising.)
This is an open thread until Minkoff Minx’s Sunday morning post.