Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has taken its beef with Qatar to a whole new level by forcing Snapchat to block Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera from its app in the country. This is not the first time that a company has surrendered to a country’s demand and also not the first time for a country to force and pressurize a company to follow its rules and regulations without giving much explanation. China has done the same with many companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. Saudi Arabia itself blocked WhatsApp and Skype in 2013 which were only recently unblocked.
According to Snapchat, the company follows the laws, rules, and regulation of the country in which it operates. Moreover, the company also asserted that “Saudi ministry of culture and information found Al Jazeera’s Discover Publisher Story channel to be in violation of local laws”. The recent action taken by Saudi is recent move to demean Qatar on an international level.
Both countries are in a state of conflict from June when Saudi-led alliance accused Qatar of supporting terrorist organizations. Saudi Arabia is also angry with Qatar due to its relations with Iran, which is top-notch at the moment. Moreover, it is also reported that the third reason might be Al Jazeera channel itself, which is very critical of Saudi Arabia.
The other Gulf countries which are boycotting Qatar aside from Saudi include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The border has been sealed-off as well as airspace to Qatari flights.
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It seems that Snapchat didn’t object to country’s unjustified demand even in the slightest as it didn’t want to offend its fan base in the Saudi. However, it is to be noted here that Al Jazeera’s Snapchat can be viewed in other Gulf countries.
This is not the first time Saudi and Qatar engaged in a diplomatic warfare. Previously, back in 2002 Saudi removed its ambassador from Qatar when Al Jazeera reported critically against Saudi. Their diplomatic relations were restored in 2008 after six years.