Progressive pan-Arab media outlet The New Arab has posted a hilarious retort following demands imposed on Qatar by the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to shut down independent media.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and The New Arab have outright dismissed calls for its shutdown as one of the demands made by several Gulf nations for an end to their efforts to isolate Qatar.
AlAraby Al-Jadeed, whose print and online editions are created from offices in London, Doha and Beirut, has grown to become one of the region’s most read and most trusted sources of independent journalism – and senior figures have rejected demands from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt that it be shut down as a blatant infringement of press freedom.
In a hilarious response, James Brownsell, managing editor of The New Arab’s English-language edition, said: “There are worse things than being banned by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Having them approve of us would be one.”
The UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have demanded Qatar shut down independent media including Al-Jazeera.
They want Qatar to end its independent foreign policy, and to align itself with the hegemony imposed on the region by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The New Arab continued: “We don’t speak for Qatar. We have covered Qatar critically on a number of occasions. We don’t speak for Qatar.
“We speak for a small group of journalists working to change the narrative over the Middle East beyond one of blood and sand to involve nuance, context and something more than state propaganda.
“And now this small group of journalists find its livelihood threatened by several of the world’s largest and most powerful economies and autocrats in a move which threatens the existence of any independent reporting or free press in the countries involved.
“The New Arab refuses to be intimidated by this attempt to fundamentally suppress freedom of opinion. Demanding our closure has not frightened us, nor will it prevent us from continuing to do what we believe in. If anything, it has emboldened us. It has empowered us.”