Al Jazeera halts broadcasts of Egyptian channel

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 29 December 2014

Qatar's Al Jazeera has suspended broadcasting its Egyptian TV channel Mubasher Misr, until "the necessary permits" have been obtained for it to return to Egypt.

The suspension of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr comes just days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the Qatari Emir's special envoy Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdel Rahman Al-Thani formalised the Saudi-brokered reconciliation between the two countries.

Al Jazeera had been streaming live news via Doha since the closure of its Cairo office in July 2013. It followed a raid and then a ban on the channel by authorities angered by what they saw as the channel's pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias shared by its owners the Qatari Government. Al Jazeera had always denied claims of any bias.

The closure of Mubasher Misr has sparked speculation that it could pave the way to the release of three Al Jazeera journalists, who have been detained in Cairo since 29 December 2013. On 1 January 2015, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are set to appeal their sentences (which range from seven to ten years) after global condemnation at their imprisonment.

"Many hope that Mubasher closing is also good sign for al-Jazeera journos currently imprisoned in Egypt," tweeted HA Hellyer, analyst with thinktank Brookings.