Qatar “fake news” spat divides Arab media

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Middle East media is having a fake news moment. At least four Arab states have blocked access to Qatari media, including international news channel Al Jazeera, in response to a disputed report about Iran.

The spat began earlier this week when the official Qatar News Agency ran a report quoting the Emir of Qatar making favorable comments about Iran and criticizing President Trump’s hardline policy towards Tehran.

Qatar said the news agency had been hacked, and that the report quoting the emir was “fake news.” However, Al Arabiya TV, backed by Saudi Arabia, carried a video Wednesday it claimed proved that the news agency report was correct, including a clip it said was from Qatar TV showing an onscreen banner with the contentious remarks.

“Al Arabiya said they will air the clip of the recording, why didn’t they?” said the head of Qatar TV, Abduallah Al Athbah. “Because it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”

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