Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia

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Social media platform Snapchat has blocked access to Al Jazeera content in Saudi Arabia.

Snapchat said it was asked by the Saudi authorities to remove the Qatari-backed broadcaster’s Discover Publisher Channel because it violated local laws.

Qatar is in an ongoing dispute with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.

The four countries cut ties with Qatar earlier this year, accusing the country of supporting terrorism.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s most restrictive media environments, according to human rights groups and media freedom advocates.

But the Saudi authorities have a particular dislike for Al Jazeera. At one point they had demanded Qatar’s government shut it down altogether as one of 13 conditions to remove sanctions against the country.

Those conditions were later withdrawn.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest social media markets in the Middle East, boosted by a high rate of smart phone ownership.

That can sometimes place US-listed companies like Snapchat’s parent Snap Inc in an awkward position, as local laws are far more restrictive than in many other markets.

“We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate,” a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement.