US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly requested the Qatari Prime Minister to reduce the intensity of state-owned Al Jazeera's coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
According to sources cited in the Axios report, Blinken reportedly requested the Qatari government to “turn down the volume on Al Jazeera's coverage because it is full of anti-Israel incitement".
During a conversation with American Jewish community leaders, Blinken expressed the Biden administration's worries that Al Jazeera's depiction of the conflict in Gaza could heighten tensions in the region.
During a press briefing held in Doha on 13 October, Blinken emphasised the need to avoid maintaining a normal relationship with Hamas, while appearing alongside Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
Blinken told the American Jewish leaders that during his Doha visit, he asked the Qatari government to alter its public stance on Hamas.
As an illustration, he mentioned the possibility of the Qatari government reducing the intensity of Al Jazeera's coverage of the conflict in Gaza.
The Al Jazeera Media Network, funded by the Qatari government, claims to operate independently, although critics argue that it aligns with Qatar's foreign policy stance. Qatar has faced criticism for its connections to Hamas.
Israel's communications minister, Shloma Karhi, has accused Al Jazeera of promoting pro-Hamas propaganda and endangering Israeli soldiers. As a result, Israeli security officials are considering the closure of the Al Jazeera office, a proposal that is currently being reviewed from a legal standpoint.
Despite Blinken's strong stance towards Qatar on the issue of Hamas, the Biden administration must tread carefully to avoid alienating the oil rich nation. Notably, the administration has been depending on Qatar's mediation endeavours with Hamas, which have successfully led to the release of two American hostages.
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