Netanyahu bans Al-Jazeera journalist from ‘freedom of speech’ event

Jerusalem: Al-Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief was banned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from attending an event based on ‘freedom of speech’, officials said.

As per a report by the Independent, the Israeli government press office confirmed that Walid Al-Omary was excluded from the conference taking place, on the order of Mr Netanyahu. The event was focused on the limits of freedom of expression.

The press office said Netanyahu reiterated his intention to close down Al-Jazeera in Israel and called for “legal measures to be taken to prevent the accreditation of all Al-Jazeera journalists”.

Mr Netanyahu’s decision to double down on limiting the freedoms of Al Jazeera’s reporters comes after an announcement from the country’s communication minister Ayoub Kara last month that the authorities intended to revoke the press credentials of the networks’ journalists.

The decision was criticised by the Israel Union of Journalists, who called it an “intolerable move in a democracy”.

Al-Jazeera is owned by Qatar which has nearly 80 offices around the world and broadcasts in several languages. Both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Kara have continued to publicly push for measures to be taken against Al Jazeera and its journalists.