Qatar target of ‘hostile media campaign’ by Saudi, UAE: FM
Qatar says it is being targeted in a “hostile media campaign” after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blocked its websites and broadcasters over certain remarks attributed to the Qatari emir.
“There is a hostile media campaign against the State of Qatar, which we will confront,” Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Thursday.
A day earlier, Qatar’s state-run news agency ran a story, saying the kingdom had ordered the withdrawal of its ambassadors from Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over “tension” with the administration of US President Donald Trump.
The article, quoting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, called Iran an “Islamic power” and praised the Hamas resistance movement as “the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry later claimed that its state agency had been hacked and the emir’s statements had been forged.
Following the alleged hack, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blocked Qatari websites and broadcasters in their respective countries.
The Qatari state television’s nightly newscast had on Tuesday showed clips of the monarch at an official military ceremony with a scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen showing the same remarks.
They included reference that Qatar had “strong relations” with Iran.
“Iran represents a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored and it is unwise to face up against it,” the ticker read at one point. “It is a big power in the stabilization of the region.”
The Qatari top diplomat, however, played down any existing rifts with the country’s fellow Persian Gulf littoral states by saying Doha was always in favor of maintaining “strong and brotherly relations” with them.
Among the media outlets allegedly antagonizing Doha, Al Thani said, were American ones.
There were 13 opinion articles “focused on Qatar” in US media in the last five weeks, he said.
On the day of the hack, “a conference on Qatar convened without us attending while the authors of those articles were there,” he said, asking, “Is this a coincidence?”