Egypt Authorities Shut Down pan-Arab Broadcaster Al Jazeera

Egypt's information minister cancels Qatar-based network's license to broadcast from the country, as Al Jazeera considered to have inspired protesters.

The pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera said Sunday that Egyptian authorities ordered the closure of its offices covering the street protests in Cairo and elsewhere.

The Qatar-based network has given nearly round-the-clock coverage to the uprising against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Al Jazeera's flagship Arabic channel is considered by some as a possible forum to inspire demonstrators. It also broadcasts in English.

Egypt protests

"The Information Minister ordered ... suspension of operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licenses and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today," a statement on the official Mena news agency said.

A statement by Al Jazeera on Sunday called Egypt's decision an act designed to stifle and repress open reporting.

The network has frequently been at odds with authorities in the Middle East, previously facing bans or restrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.