UN Human rights Commissioner calls demand to close down Al Jazeera an unacceptable attack on Media freedom
July 1, Geneva: The United Nations human rights agency has called the demand made by Saudi Arabia and its allies demand to close down Al Jazeera TV channel an "unacceptable attack" on the right to freedoms of expression and opinion.
The UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said: "extremely concerned by the demand that Qatar close down the Al Jazeera network, as well as other affiliated media outlets", his spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing.
"Whether or not you watch it, like it, or agree with its editorial standpoints, Al Jazeera's Arabic and English channels are legitimate, and have many millions of viewers. The demand that they be summarily closed down is, in our view, an unacceptable attack on the right to freedom of expression and opinion," Colville said.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a boycott on Qatar three weeks ago, accusing it of backing militants, then issued an ultimatum, including demands it shut down a Turkish military base in Doha, shutting Al Jazeera and curbing ties with Iran.
Meanwhile, Qatar's foreign minister has asked members of the United Nations Security Council to urge a Saudi-led bloc of states to lift their blockade, nearly a month after it began.
Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, had told the local media that he had met with 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council at the Qatari mission to the UN in the US state of New York, and urged them to speak out publicly on Qatar's behalf.
The Oslo Times International News Network