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Qatar’s Al Jazeera Twitter account suspended

The Arabic-language account of Al Jazeera has been suspended on Twitter because of what the Qatari network calls “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 network said it was working to restore the account.

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.

However, accounts for Al Jazeera’s different language services, as well as its Arabic-language breaking news account, remain online.

The network wrote that the account “is currently suspended due to what seems to be an organised campaign and we are doing the necessary work to get the service back”.

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.

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”.

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