Al Arabiya News channel loses UK broadcasting license

The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya Arabic News Channel has surrendered its license to broadcast in the UK.

This comes shortly after the channel was heavily sanctioned by broadcast regulator Ofcom for broadcasting an interview with a Bahraini prisoner who was allegedly forced to make confessions incriminating himself.

Qatar News Agency is also reporting that it hired the Carter-Ruck law firm to submit a complaint with Ofcom against Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia for broadcasting “fabricated and false statements” attributed to Qatari Emir Tamim.

QNA said that the surrendering of the license by Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite broadcaster, was to avoid an investigation which could have resulted in the imposition of substantial fines and other penalties and even in the revocation of the license due to previous violations.

But Al Arabiya has responded to what it calls “fake news” circulating over its UK operations and has said that the move was part of “a new distribution strategy.”

And it described as false the claims that it was forced off air because of a complaint filed by Qatar News Agency, calling it “ridiculous and unfounded”.

“It was an unsuccessful attempt to justify a decision to stop its participation in the British BSkyB package under a new distribution plan that would focus on modern digital platforms instead of traditional subscription only means,” a source in Al Arabiya said.

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