WASHINGTON – The United States expressed concern Monday about Egypt’s shutdown of Al Jazeera and called for the release of six of the regional news channel’s reporters who had been arrested there.
“We are concerned by the shutdown of Al Jazeera in Egypt and arrest of its correspondents. Egypt must be open and the reporters released,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a message on his Twitter account.
Egyptian police on Monday arrested six foreign journalists working for Al Jazeera English news channel at their Cairo hotel after authorities forbade them covering anti-regime protests, the channel said.
The arrested Al Jazeera employees are Australian, Portuguese and British, a spokesman for the channel told AFP.
The arrests came after Egypt on Sunday moved to shut down Al Jazeera’s coverage of mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, but the pan-Arab broadcaster vowed that it would not be silenced.