Snapchat pulls Al Jazeera channel from its app in Saudi Arabia

Al Jazeera: 'We demand press freedom'
Al Jazeera: 'We demand press freedom'

Saudi Arabia just made it much harder for Snapchat users to view Al Jazeera content.

Snap Inc. (SNAP) pulled the prominent news channel's curated content from its Snapchat app in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, saying it was responding to a government request.

The Saudi government said Al Jazeera's Snapchat channel was breaking local laws related to published material and cyber crime, according to Snap. Officials requested the removal of the channel from the app's Discover section, a Snap spokeswoman told CNNMoney on Monday.

"We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate," the spokeswoman said.

Related: Al Jazeera: From global media player to bargaining chip

Al Jazeera, which as a user of Snapchat is still permitted to post content that Saudis can view, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The TV network's content is also still available in Saudi Arabia on Twitter (TWTR, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Google's (GOOGL, Tech30) YouTube.

A spokesman for the Saudi information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Qatar-owned news outlet has been in the crosshairs of several governments in the region during a prolonged diplomatic dispute in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain broke off relations with Qatar in June over its alleged support for terrorism -- a charge it denies.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE suspended the news channel and blocked Al Jazeera's website following the fallout.

Shuttering Doha-based Al Jazeera and its affiliates was one of more than a dozen demands made by the coalition of countries -- led by Saudi Arabia -- for restoring diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar. The network has said demands for its closure are an attempt to restrict freedom of expression in the region.

Related: Blocked in Dubai: Qatar cartoon and soccer channels

Snap said Al Jazeera's channel is still available to Snapchat users in 14 other countries in the Middle East, among them the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. The network launched its daily channel on Snapchat Discover in May, an attempt to expand the reach of its Arabic content.

Snap has deals with a number of publishers, including CNN, to use curated content in its Discover section.

-- Zahraa Alkhalisi contributed to this report.

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