After going off-line for several hours yesterday "for maintenance", the Menassat website is back – but without the announcement of staff sackings posted by earlier by "Robin Hood". There's one new article on the front page, about the presidential succession in Egypt.
A statement issued yesterday by the Dutch organisation, Free Voice, confirmed that it has ended financial support for Menassat. It said initial funding for the site – up to 1 August last year – was provided by the Netherlands foreign ministry, with the aim of making the site financially independent from that point. The statement continued:
Because this had not been successful, Free Voice has decided to provide, from its own means, additional funds for a number of times under the agreement that additional funds would be actively sought for from Beirut. Sadly, Free Voice has to acknowledge that these have not been secured and Free Voice is now forced to terminate its support, in line with these agreements. Free Voice will continue to monitor the possibilities of a second life for this initiative and will support this if possible. There are no reasons for Free Voice to terminate its efforts with regard to content.
This means that Menassat was being funded by Free Voice, not the Dutch government, when it published its article referring to "Israeli aggressions" and the Jerusalem Post was wrong in its claim that Dutch taxpayers' money was "being used to perpetuate Israel as the opium of the Arabs”.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 4 September 2009.