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Jordan Shuts Al-Jazeera TV Office
Wed Aug 7, 3:44 PM ET
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - The government shut down the office of the Al-Jazeera satellite news channel Wednesday, accusing the station of provoking "sedition" by airing views critical of the kingdom's rulers.
Information Minister Mohammad Affash Adwan said the license allowing the station to operate in Jordan and accreditation of Al-Jazeera's correspondents were revoked.
The closure comes a day after Al-Jazeera aired a talk-show program in which a U.S.-based Palestinian university professor, Assad Abu-Khalil, rebuked Jordan's late King Hussein and his grandfather, King Abdullah I.
Abu-Khalil accused Jordan of pro-Israeli stances even before it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. He also claimed that Hussein, who died of cancer in 1999, had cooperated with the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
The program, "Opposite Direction," has often stirred controversy in Arab capitals because of its liberal and critical approach to Arab politics and leadership. Al-Jazeera has run into problems with authorities in other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain.
Unlike state-run media, the station often airs views of local opposition figures and their criticisms of the countries' rulers. Open criticism of ruling families is unusual in the Arab world.
In Doha, Qatar, where the channel is based, Al-Jazzera news editor Saeed al-Shouri called the Jordanian action unjustified.
"Our presenter didn't criticize Jordan. A guest on the program did, but he doesn't represent the channel," he told The Associated Press. "It is not the first time for an Arab country to act against us, but we objectively tackle hot issues of the Arab nation's interest and if they (the Arab governments) can't handle that, then it is their problem."
Adwan said Al-Jazeera "continuously intends to harm Jordan and its national stands whether directly or indirectly."
"This station has exceeded all professional and moral values in dealing with many national issues," he said in remarks carried by the official Petra news agency.
He said the station had targeted Jordan "in a way which confirms that its main goal is to create disturbance ... and provoke sedition."
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