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Qatari media inciting Qataris against GCC, says Bahraini minister

Published: Updated:

Qatari media is trying to distort the image of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and attempting to drum up popular support to encourage a withdrawal from the six-country bloc, Bahrain’s information minister has said.

“The current Qatari media policy deliberately concocts claims and fabricates historical and political fallacies in order to build up resentment among Qataris against the GCC and reduce its stature,” Ali Bin Mohammad Al Romaihi, the Bahraini minister, told the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat.

“The media wants the Qatari citizen to believe that the measures taken against Qatar’s negative policies are in fact directed at him.”

Qatar has been a member of GCC – which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – since it was established in May 1981.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and Egypt, in June severed their diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremists and funding terrorism.

“We find it highly deplorable that the Qatari media is working on mobilizing the street through blatant lies and outrageous deceptions and on involving people in a political crisis to which they were not party,” Al Romaihi said in his remarks published by Bahrain News Agency.

The minister said that the attempts by the Qatari media in this regard were started when Al Jazeera was launched and that they have been incorporated in several programs, news and reports under various appellations that have been broadcast on the news channel.

“Al Jazeera has never been an advocate of Gulf unity or of Gulf integration. Since its launch, Al Jazeera has broadcast news programs and reports questioning the significance of establishing the GCC, and has allowed guests on talk shows to attack the Council and its leaders,” Al Romaihi said.

“The campaign orchestrated by Al Jazeera and promoted through social media is trying to show that there is a popular movement in Qatar calling for withdrawal from the GCC. It is highly regrettable that some Iranian media are involved in this dubious campaign. These media have been highlighting the gains that Qatar will make by pulling out of the GCC and have been pushing for the formation of a Qatari-Iranian-Syrian axis. One Iranian official even suggested calling on other countries to withdraw from the Council,” the minister added.