Bahrain suspends independent newspaper for "sowing division"

Bahrain's information ministry says it had decided to bar the publication and stop its circulation "until further notice."

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The newspaper was also suspended for two days in August 2015 on similar charges.

Updated Jun 5, 2017

Bahrain announced on Sunday an indefinite ban on the independent Al Wasat newspaper on accusations that it publishes "what sows division" in the Gulf kingdom.

The ministry of information affairs said it had decided to bar the publication and stop its circulation "until further notice," according to BNA state news agency, without specifying if the ban affects the digital edition.

Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority issued the order first verbally on Sunday and later through a statement published by the state-run Bahrain News Agency, said Mansoor al Jamri, the paper's editor-in-chief. The statement said the closure came over a story "affecting the relations of the kingdom of Bahrain with other countries."

Third time

Jamri identified that story as a column on page 19 of its Sunday edition focused on recent protests in northern Morocco's El Hoceima. 

Unrest has gripped the area since the death of a fish vendor in October, who was crushed by a garbage compactor while trying to save fish that officials had confiscated.

The sudden closure of the daily Al Wasat marks the third time authorities have ordered it to stop publishing a print edition since the island's 2011 Arab Spring protests and comes just after officials briefly banned it in January from publishing online.

The latest ban comes as authorities intensify a crackdown on the opposition, with police shooting dead five demonstrators last month as security forces dismantled a months-long sit-in.

TRTWorld and agencies