Qatar’s Al Jazeera Twitter account back after suspension

Qatar’s Al Jazeera Twitter account back after suspension

Employees of Al Jazeera satellite channel, work at their Jerusalem bureau, Israel, 14 June 2017Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Al Jazeera has been in the crosshairs of Qatar’s Gulf neighbours

The Arabic-language account of Al Jazeera has been restored on Twitter after being suspended due to what the network called “an organised campaign”.

The account, with just under 12 million followers, was suspended for an unspecified reason early on Saturday.

Al Jazeera is the flagship broadcaster for Qatar, which is under pressure from its Gulf neighbours. They accuse the emirate of links to terror groups.

The account was restored by early afternoon Qatar time.

Twitter’s rules state that an account can be suspended for three main reasons: because it is posting spam, because it has been hacked or compromised, or because it “engages in abusive behaviour, like sending threats to others or impersonating other accounts”.

It is highly unusual for an account with as many followers, belonging to a national broadcaster, to be suspended.

A senior editor on the website wrote that there had been an “on going storm of mass reporting” of the account – of Twitter receiving significant numbers of complaints at the same time.

Accounts for Al Jazeera’s different language services, as well as its Arabic-language breaking news account, had remained online.

Saudi Arabia has led moves to isolate the gas-rich emirate since earlier this month. Riyadh sealed its border, closed its air space to Qatari Airways and – along with Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt – severed diplomatic relations.

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Media captionThe economic disruption could have an impact on Qatar if the dispute drags on.

The countries, as well as US President Donald Trump, have accused Qatar of destabilising the region through its alleged support of extremist groups and links to Iran. Qatar has denied funding terror groups.

Even before the recent row grew, Al Jazeera had found itself in the crosshairs of Qatar’s neighbours.

Its website was blocked by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain in late May.

On closing the broadcaster’s offices this month, Saudi Arabia said it promoted terrorist “plots”, supported Houthi militias that Saudi Arabia is fighting in Yemen, and had attempted to “break the Saudi internal ranks”.

Al Jazeera says it is “not partisan to any ideology, group or government”.