The pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Sunday that Egyptian authorities ordered the closure of its offices covering the street protests in Cairo and elsewhere.
The Qatar-based network has given nearly round-the-clock coverage to the uprising against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
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The network reported via its Twitter account that "Al-Jazeera Arabic and Al-Jazeera English have been taken off the air."
The broadcasting network later posted an audio tweet by Evan Hill reporting from Cairo. "Al-Jazeera English is coming in and out on television here in Cairo," he said.
"Security forces entered the bureau and demanded identification from the staff. No one has been detained or harmed in any way," he added.
A statement by Al-Jazeera posted on its blog website called Egypt's decision an act "designed to stifle and repress" open reporting.
"The Al-Jazeera Network strongly denounces and condemns the closure of
its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government," the statement read.
statement went on to say that "Al-Jazeera has received widespread
global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and
breadth of Egypt."
"Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to
stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its
journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society
it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of
our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and
silencing the voices of the Egyptian people," the statement continued.
assures its audiences in Egypt and across the world that it will
continue its in-depth and comprehensive reporting on the events
unfolding in Egypt," said the statement.
The network has
frequently been at odds with authorities in the Middle East, previously
facing bans or restrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.