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Bahrain Blocks Saudi Channel over Interview with Opposition

3 February 2015 23:47


Bahraini regime blocked on Monday the frequency of a newly-launched Arab-language news channel following an interview it conducted with a Bahraini opposition figure and broadcast on Sunday.

The unexpected suspension came a day after Al-Arab news channel was launched in the Bahraini capital, Manama, and just hours after Al-Arab broadcast an interview with Khalil al-Marzooq, a former deputy Speaker of Bahrain and an aide to Sheik Ali Salman, the detained Secretary General of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which is Bahrain’s main opposition movement.

The Bahraini Akhbar al-Khaleej newspaper said Monday that the suspension was “related to the failure of those in charge [in the TV] to abide by the prevailing norms in the [Persian] Gulf, including the neutrality of media positions and staying away from anything that could negatively impact the spirit of unity in the Gulf.”

The channel, however, owned by Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, blamed technical problems for the suspension, without offering further details.

“Broadcast stopped for technical and administrative reasons. We will be back soon, God willing,” the news channel wrote on its Twitter feed.

Moreover, Youssuf Mohammad, Media Director of Information Committee in Bahrain, told media outlets that the Bahraini channel stopped due to “technical problems” as it declared in its statement.

Viewers can now watch promotional materials for the channel on its frequency but cannot watch any programs or live broadcast.

The channel had started broadcasting at 1300 GMT on Sunday, and its lead story was about Japanese freelance journalist, Kenji Goto, whom the Takfiri militants of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) terrorist group claimed in a video released late on Saturday to have beheaded.

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