Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

The British government has been urged to launch an investigation into allegations Al Jazeera has given a platform to support a terrorist group. (File photo AFP)
Updated 15 July 2018
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Call for UK to act over Al Jazeera’s ‘platform’ for terror group

LONDON: The British government has been urged to launch an investigation into allegations Al Jazeera has given a “platform” to an extremist group linked to some of the UK’s bloodiest terror attacks.
The Qatar-owned broadcaster has featured members of the outlawed Al-Muhajiroun group on its Arabic channel on numerous occassions, prompting calls for action by the UK authorities.
While the clips are historic, the fact that they are still available online makes Al Jazeera “a vehicle for inciting terrorism,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global, a management consultancy focused on the Middle East.
Al-Muhajiroun was formed in 1983 by hate preacher Omar Bakri, who is currently in prison in Lebanon for terror offenses. It was banned in the UK in 2010 but has carried on under a number of guises.
The perpetrators of the 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby were linked to Al-Muhajiroun, as was at least one of the extremists involved in the June 2017 terror attack at London Bridge, in which eight people were killed and 48 injured.
Bakri had been a guest on historic Al Jazeera programs, and in one clip dismissed Britain’s non-Islamic laws, claiming they “do not concern us,” and defended his group.
Nuseibeh said that, because such clips are still accessible on Al Jazeera’s website, the broadcaster should be held to account.
“Anyone looking for material about Al-Muhajiroun can find this now,” he told Arab News.
“This is a clear breach of British laws and the fact that Al Jazeera continues to host those (clips) on its website, which is accessible in Britain, makes Al Jazeera a vehicle for inciting terrorism.
“The UK government is strongly encouraged to investigate why Al Jazeera continues to host interviews with this group and impose appropriate penalties.”
Nuseibeh said that Al Jazeera had featured members of the Al-Muhajiroun terror group on “many occasions,” allowing members to defend the terror group and openly criticizing the UK’s move to proscribe it. The Qatari broadcaster should be investigated by authorities, he added.
“It cannot be ruled out that Al Jazeera has contributed to recruiting members for the group in Britain, particularly among Arabic speakers, and therefore (has a) role in inciting terrorists.”
“Why hasn’t the UK banned Al Jazeera yet?” Nuseibeh tweeted earlier on Saturday. “Clearly (the UK government) should do more and take those pages down.”
Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Updated 19 February 2019
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Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

  • Dutt's account was blocked after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her
  • Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence”

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: One of India’s best-known women journalists, Barkha Dutt, launched a scathing attack on Twitter Inc. on Tuesday for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.
Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.
Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.
She posted her complaint against Twitter in a tweet on Tuesday, after her account was re-activated.
“I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter’s encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality,” said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.
Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.
“If we identify a Tweet that violates the Twitter Rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said in an email.
The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.
Its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has been called to appear before a parliamentary panel this month to discuss initiatives being taken to safeguard citizen’s rights on social media and online news platforms.
The hearing comes soon after the conservative Youth for Social Media Democracy group accused Twitter of left-wing bias and protested outside its office in New Delhi this month.
Dorsey did not appear at a hearing earlier this month.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday the parliamentary panel had written an email to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a Feb. 25 hearing.
Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.
Social media giants in India are being put under greater scrutiny ahead of a general election due before May, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party are seeking re-election.
Several social media companies are overhauling policies to curb misinformation ahead of the vote.