RIYADH: Saudi and Emirati pundits have quit major media outlets in Qatar, including the broadcaster of top-flight European football, they said on Sunday, as tensions soar between Doha and Gulf states.
In an unprecedented decision on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their envoys to Qatar, which they accused of meddling in their internal affairs by supporting Islamists.
Doha has dismissed the charge, citing instead differences in regional politics.
Saudi columnist Samar al-Mogren, who writes for Al-Arab Qatari daily, tweeted on Sunday that the “Saudi ministry of culture and information has decided to end the collaboration of Saudi writers with Qatari newspapers.”
She said that two other Saudi writers, Saleh al-Shehi and Ahmed bin Rashed al-Saeed, had also stopped writing for Qatari newspapers based on the ministry’s orders.
Another writer, Muhanna al-Hubail, had received similar orders from the ministry, said Mogren.
Meanwhile, Emirati commentators and analysts announced they had quit BeIn Sports, which exclusively broadcasts matches from the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga to millions of football fans across the Middle East.
Ali Saeed al- Kaabi and Fares Awad announced on Twitter Saturday their resignation from BeIn, without giving any reasons.
Emirati football pundit Sultan Rashed said he would stop contributing to BeIn, while analyst Hassan al-Jassmi said he would no longer appear on both BeIn and Alkass, another Qatari sports channel.
Qatar is a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, viewed by most conservative monarchies of the Gulf as a threat to their grip on power in their countries because of its grass-roots political advocacy and calls for Islamic governance.
The Gulf Cooperation Council groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.