Qatar-based Al Jazeera says it's under cyber attack

A widescale cyber attack had targeted "all systems" but the platforms have not been compromised. Al Jazeera says its editorial policy won't change amid mounting pressure from Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Following the initial reports of attack, some viewers in the region said that they could no longer receive Al Jazeera TV.

Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera said on Thursday that it was under a widescale cyber attack which had targeted "all systems", according to a statement released on social media by the broadcaster.

"These attempts are gaining intensity and taking various forms. However, the platforms have not been compromised," the Doha-based broadcaster said on its website.

Following the initial reports of a cyber attack, some viewers in the region said that they could no longer receive Al Jazeera television.

Meanwhile, Qatar's state-run television has shut down its website temporarily "for security reasons" after hacking attempts. 

TRT World spoke to the network's Jamal Elshayyal in Doha.

Cyber attack amid soaring tensions

Al Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours, who accuse the broadcaster of bias and fomenting trouble in the region - a charge the broadcaster denies. 

The cyber attack comes during a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf, which has seen Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and other allies cut ties with Qatar.

They severed relations over what they said is Doha's alleged financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival.

Long-running tensions broke out into the open last month after Qatar claimed its state news site was hacked by unknown parties who posted "false" statements attributed to the emir in which he speaks favourably of Iran and the Palestinian group Hamas.

The remarks were widely reported as true across the region.

Earlier this month, Qatar said the FBI was helping it investigate the source of the alleged hacking.

Subsequently there were media reports suggesting that Qatar had been targeted by Russian hackers - a claim dismissed by Moscow. 

Broadcaster says editorial policy won't change

Al Jazeera will maintain its editorial independence despite a regional diplomatic crisis that has isolated the small Gulf Arab state, the broadcasting network's acting director-general said on Thursday.

Mostefa Souag dismissed accusations by some Arab powers that Al Jazeera is interfering in their affairs through its reports and defended the network's professionalism.

"We don't interfere in anybody's business, we just report," says Al Jazeera's acting director-general Mostefa Souag.

"All this talk about Jazeera interfering in other countries' affairs is nonsense. We don't interfere in anybody's business, we just report," he said.

"If we bring (in) guests who are opposing certain governments, does that mean we are interfering in the countries' business? No. Al Jazeera's editorial policy is going to continue the same regardless of what happens with this event."

TRTWorld and agencies