The Dubai-based television channel Al Arabiya said on Sunday that its Tehran bureau has been ordered to remain closed indefinitely for "unfair reporting" of last week's disputed presidential election.
"The authorities accuse Al Arabiya of diffusing news that is not necessarily fair from their point of view," said channel's executive news manager, Nabil al-Khatib, adding that the channel had not done anything that was in violation of Iranian law and had appealed to the government about what it saw as a campaign against the station in the official Iranian media.
"They have ordered that we do not broadcast any news about Iran, saying Al Arabiya in Dubai does not comply with what Al Arabiya's office in Tehran was ordered to do," he said.
The move followed a decision by the Ministry of Information to shut Al Arabiya's Tehran bureau last Sunday for a week just as the protests over disputed presidential elections were getting underway.
Khatib said Al Arabiya had hoped the Iranian authorities would reverse their decision last Sunday to close the bureau for a week and was “surprised” when he was informed that it would be closed indefinitely.
Nonetheless, he said, the station would continue covering Iran from its headquarters in Dubai.
“It makes the original reporting, using our resources in Tehran, being close to the real story, impossible and we will need to continue covering Iran,” he said, explaining that. Like other foreing media barred from reporting in Iran, the station would have to rely on its sources inside Iran and rely on eye witnesses as well as videos posted online by Iranian activists and journalists.
Iran’s decision came as officials gave the BBC’s Tehran bureau chief 24 hours to leave the country after he was accused of "supporting the rioters."
They have ordered that we do not broadcast any news about Iran, saying Al Arabiya in Dubai does not comply with what Al Arabiya's office in Tehran was ordered to do
Nabil Khatib, Al Arabiya