Last week NBC DATELINE gave the Jordanians considerable free advertising with Katie Couric interviewing King Abdullah and Queen Rania and she toured Petra with them. NBC, owned by corporate giant GE, gave the journalistic store away in favor of the special access accorded to Couric. But even so, the Hashemite throne is wobbling now in Jordan; and today's reaction to Al-Jeezera shows just how nervous the Royal Palace and the Jordanian elite have become. The Israelis may well seize the opportunity and get rid of Al-Jazeera next.
Jordan pulls plug on Al-Jazeera for harming government image
AMMAN - The Jordanian government Wednesday shut down the office of the Al-Jazeera satellite news channel, accusing the Qatar-based 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.
There was no immediate comment from Al-Jazeera.
The closure comes one 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.
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."
Implicitly referring to Tuesday's talk-show program, Adwan said the station had surpassed "all kinds of decency in its programs by attacking the nation's leaders and its nobilities."