US State Department voices support for free press after Israel's Al Jazeera closure law

US State Department voices support for free press after Israel's Al Jazeera closure law

'We've not always agreed with all of Al Jazeera's coverage, but it's a media organization that we engage with,' says spokesman

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US State Department on Monday expressed support for free press after Israel’s Knesset passed legislation that allows the closure of Al Jazeera channel.

"We support the independent, free press anywhere in the world. And we think the work that the independent free press does is important everywhere in the world," said Spokesman Matthew Miller during his press briefing.

"And much of what we know about what has happened in Gaza is because of reporters who are there doing their jobs, including reporters from Al Jazeera," he added.

"We think it's well known that we've not always agreed with all of Al Jazeera's coverage, but it's a media organization that we engage with," he said. "What we will continue to make clear is that we support the work that the free press does".

Israel’s Knesset on Monday passed legislation allowing the closure of the Al Jazeera television.

Under the bill, the communications minister will be empowered to shut down foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the defense minister identifies that their broadcast poses “an actual harm to the state’s security.”

Following the passage of the law, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi vowed that the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera channel would be closed down “in the coming days.”

Early Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “immediately act to close Al Jazeera” following the bill's passage in the Knesset.

US State Department voices support for free press after Israel's Al Jazeera closure law

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