UAE journalists in Qatar pressured to quit

Two Emirati commentators in Doha-based beIN Sport channel forced to resign by their government.

Saudi journalists have reported no pressure to resign from Qatar's sports channel, unlike their UAE peers.

Two Emirati citizens working for beIN Sport, formerly Al Jazeera Sport, have resigned from the channel under pressure from their government.

A source from beIN Sport confirmed to Al Jazeera on Sunday that commentators Ali Saeed Al Kaabi and Fares Awad had quit.

Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Qatar’s former ambassador to the United Nations and the US, said the move was regretful and would only affect the individual journalists.

“This will not affect Al Jazeera, Qatar or its newspapers. There are hundreds of people who want to work here,” Al Khalifa said.

The news come as media reports said that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia had called on their nationals working for Qatari media outlets to resign.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information reportedly asked Saudi columnists to stop writing for Qatari newspapers, but there were no further reports of pressure for Saudi nationals who work in Qatar to quit.

At least five Saudi journalists are continuing their work as usual in beIN Sports, the source in the channel told Al Jazeera. 

The editor-in-chief of Doha-based daily al-Arab confirmed that some of its Saudi columnists had resigned, while some others were still doing their jobs.

“Some of our Saudi columnists quit today as a result of pressures from their government,” Ahmad al-Romaihi told Al Jazeera.

“They graciously gave me their resignations but there are also some who decided to stay behind and continue working for us,” he said. “No Emiratis from our staff quit today, but Emirati writer Saeed Hareb did quit over a month ago due to pressures from his government to stop writing for a Qatari newspaper.”

The latest developments come days after the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain withdrew their envoys to Qatar, saying in a statement that Doha had failed to commit “to the principles” of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a claim denied by Qatar.

“The moves have nothing to do with their national interests nor their security and stability, but there is a difference of opinion and position on a number of issues outside the Gulf Cooperation Council,” Qatar said in a statement.

According to Al Khalifa, the tension between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE on the other, are all about their policies in regard to Egypt.

Source: Al Jazeera