Social Media Platform Snapchat has recently blocked Al Jazeera, a well-known Qatari broadcaster from its app in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi authorities, the company said on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia told the social media company that the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel violated local laws.
“We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate,” a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday.
According to Snap Inc., the Saudi ministry of culture and information found Al Jazeera’s Discover Publisher Story channel to be in violation of local laws. Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have been boycotting Qatar since June 5 in the region’s worst diplomatic crisis in years.
Al Jazeera Media Network’s acting Director-General Mostefa Souag denounced the move.
“We find Snapchat’s action to be alarming and worrying. This sends a message that regimes and countries can silence any voice or platform they don’t agree with by exerting pressure on the owners of social media platforms and content distribution companies. This step is a clear attack on the rights of journalists and media professionals to report and cover stories freely from around the world,” Souag said.
Morad Rayyan, head of Incubation and Innovation Research at Al Jazeera, said the move by Snapchat was “unprecedented“.
“Snapchat is a US-based company, publicly traded, and it stands for freedom of expression. We are working on contingency plans to ensure our content is available on other platforms,” Rayyan said.
Saudi Arabia alone has around eight million users of Snapchat which is a very considerable amount of its global users.
It also demanded that it close broadcasting giant Al-Jazeera.
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