The Independent: Saudi Arabia has started spreading its own ‘fake news’ in the latest bizarre turn in its row with Qatar

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Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder took to Twitter to complain that the Saudi-owned TV station Al Arabiya was making “increasingly absurd fabrications” in the country’s 11-week-long dispute with Qatar. In particular he took the broadcaster to task for quoting him saying Qatar had paid ”huge sums of money” for two damaging cables not to be published.
Equally absurd was the Arab TV station’s attack on The Independent and Newsweek over the weekend.
Both had reported widespread outrage at an animated Al Arabiya video showing a Qatar Airways passenger plane being shot down by a Saudi jet for straying into the desert kingdom’s airspace.
The video led to a complaint by Qatar to the International Civil Aviation Organisation that the Saudis were “terrorising” travellers.
But in an extreme case of splitting hairs, Al Arabiya then launched a bizarre attack claiming the “Western media outlets” had “misleadingly” reported what the footage conveyed.
It said the video began with a Saudi jet forcing a passenger jet – with the Qatar Airways logo on the side – to land for entering its airspace.
This was followed by a second sequence in which a missile is fired at the aircraft in midair. But on this occasion the plane’s Qatar Airways logo had been removed – so, they tried to claim, it wasn’t a Qatari plane.
As the Al Bawaba website, based in Jordan but with offices across the Arab world, put it: “Fake News Gulf Crisis Style: No, Al Arabiya, Qataris Are Not Begging Their Emir To Step Down”.
In its report, Al Bawaba noted: “On closer inspection the embedded tweets in Al Arabiya appear to come from Saudi accounts… in fact a quick search of the ‘Leave Tamin’ hashtag quickly reveals Qataris flooding Twitter instead with derision towards the hashtag, and support for their Emir.”

The independent

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