Qatar-backed website slammed over cartoon showing Trump 'summoning devil'

Updated 30 May 2017
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Qatar-backed website slammed over cartoon showing Trump 'summoning devil'

LONDON: An incendiary cartoon published by a Qatar-backed news website that shows US President Donald Trump and two Arab leaders apparently summoning the devil has been widely criticized online.
The cartoon, by US-based illustrator Katie Miranda, shows Trump, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi around a crystal ball, in a scene inspired by a real-life photocall during the inauguration of an anti-terror center in Riyadh earlier this month.
But the cartoon, published on Wednesday, shows the devil and an “underworld” below the leaders gathered around the crystal ball, with the line “we have been summoned!” and demons rejoicing at death and “more dead kids!”
It was published by the London-based website Middle East Eye, which despite claiming to be independent and having “no political master,” is widely believed to be backed by Qatar.
Many social media users slammed the publication of the cartoon. One pointed out the irony of the criticism leveled against the three leaders, who had met to inaugurate the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — nicknamed “Etidal,” or “moderation” — which aims to promote moderation and counter the spread of extremism.
Saudi Twitter user @Alshega criticized the cartoon for making fun of the Etidal center, which was launched earlier this month during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Another user, from the UAE and who tweets @uae_12G, slammed the cartoon for mocking Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Muslim countries that participated in the Riyadh Summit. And another, tweeting @SBAlketbi, said that Qatar continues to show disrespect through the Middle East Eye website, which is edited by David Hearst, a former foreign correspondent for The Guardian.
Some of the Middle East Eye’s output is perceived by some as being in line with Doha’s stance on certain issues. The Trump “devil” cartoon carried a disclaimer saying the views expressed “do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.”
A former executive with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV network was reportedly closely involved with setting up the Middle East Eye, which had employed staff with links to organizations sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a press report from 2014. Al-Jazeera said at the time it had no links to the Middle East Eye.
The website was one of the several Qatar-backed media outlets to be blocked in Saudi Arabia and the UAE earlier this month, in an ongoing political spat with Doha over inflammatory comments attributed to the nation’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) ran comments by the country’s leader said to have been made at a National Service graduation ceremony.
The emir reportedly endorsed Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah and criticized the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for waging a campaign against Doha. Qatar later said its news agency had been hacked, although failed to provide concrete evidence of this.


Saudi Arabia permanently revokes beIN Sports license

Updated 20 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia permanently revokes beIN Sports license

  • The GAC accused the Qatari-owned channel of exploiting its dominant position in the run-up to the 2016 European Championships
  • In April last year, beIN Sports was hit with a fine of SR10,000 and ordered to stop its monopolizing practices

LONDON: Saudi Arabian authorities have permanently revoked the license of beIN Sports after accusing the Qatari-owned channel of illegal monopolizing practices.
The General Authority for Competition (GAC) released a statement revealing its decision and announcing it had also slapped beIN Sports with a SR10 million ($2.6 million) fine due to the alleged violations.
“The GAC clarified it has received many complaints from citizens and participants against beIN Sports since March 2016 for violating competition rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” it said in a statement.
The GAC accused the Qatari-owned channel of exploiting its dominant position in the run-up to the 2016 European Championships, forcing fans wanting to watch the football tournament to subscribe to other channels, including non-sports ones.
In addition, football-hungry viewers were forced to renew their subscription to the main channels for an entire year as a condition to watch the Euros, even though their subscription should have covered the period during which the competition, won by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, took place.

 

In April last year, beIN Sports was hit with a fine of SR10,000 and ordered to stop the monopolizing practices.
“These are clear violations of the competition’s rules. The board of directors thus decided to take the appropriate measures to end these practices and the monopoly violations committed by BeIN,” the statement said at the time.
It is beIN’s failure to implement changes that has resulted in the complete revoking of its license. The channel appealed against the 2017 decision before the administrative court of the board of grievances in Riyadh. The administrative justice found the case of BeIN Sport against the GAC inadmissible.
As a result, the channel’s license was permanently revoked and it was hit with the mammoth fine.
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute between the Kingdom and the Qatari channel. Saudi authorities have accused beIN Sports of engaging in a media smear campaign against the country.
During the World Cup the channel was also accused of infringing broadcasting standards by “politicizing” coverage of the football tournament.
It led legal experts to claim that FIFA should launch an investigation into why the broadcaster brought politics into play during coverage of World Cup games.
The broadcaster was not immediately available for comment.

FACTOID

3.2bn – Number of people around the world who tuned in to watch the World Cup, according to FIFA – almost half the world’s population.