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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yemen kicks Al Jazeera out of the country; Syria stops photographs

From Bloomberg:
Yemen has closed the office of Al Jazeera television and withdrawn the Doha, Qatar-based network’s license to report from the country, state-run Saba news agency reported, citing an unidentified official.

The decision to permanently close the news bureau followed what the report called a "sabotage scheme aimed at inciting strife."

Yemen recalled its ambassador to Qatar for consultation following remarks by Qatar’s prime minister about political tensions in the Arabian Peninsula country, Saba reported yesterday.
Al Jazeera has an interesting blog entry about how Syria's secret police are stopping journalists from taking pictures - so they acted like tourists:

We wanted to get a better view - and perhaps some other pictures - so we walked all the way around the mosque to the other side of the protest. As soon as we got to the other side, I took out my camera. Before I could even lift it to my face, three pairs of hands grabbed it, and myself, saying: “No, no pictures.”

They tried to wrestle the camera from my hands but I managed to pull it back, saying I was a tourist, that I was sorry for the trouble.

“No trouble,” they said. “But no pictures here.”

“You go now please," they said. So we walked towards the protest and I jammed the camera back in my bag. We walked the perimeter of the protest and I standed there looking at Afaf, the mosque, Afaf, the mosque ... trying to get the police to lose interest in us.

It was at that point when a colleague from another network (which will remain nameless for their safety) came up to us. A few quick jokes were exchanged at which point he noted the situation was getting "a bit dodgy”. We agreed. He said he had a car stashed down one of the back alleys and off we went.

Back to the hotel in one piece. They’re not tremendous photos but what can you expect in Syria? Even when you have permission to film, this is a place where you’re better off acting like a tourist.
I hope to finish Michael Totten's excellent new book this coming weekend so I can review it here, but he talks a lot about how Hezbollah tries to limit what can be filmed, photographed or reported from the parts of Lebanon they control. That story, of how jurnalists are limited in their ability to report, needs to be part of all reporting from any area.