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Bahrain takes down TV channel over opp. interview

3 February 2015 13:56

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Bahrain has suspended a new Arab-language news channel following an interview conducted by the channel with a Bahraini opposition figure.

The suspension happened on Monday a day after Al-Arab news channel, owned by outspoken Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was launched in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

The unexpected suspension came just hours after Al-Arab broadcast an interview with Khalil al-Marzooq, an aide to Sheik Ali Salman, the detained Secretary General of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which is Bahrain’s main opposition movement.

Citing a source familiar with the issue, 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 [Persian] Gulf unity.”

The channel, however, blamed technical problems for the suspension, without giving details.

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

The channel had started broadcasting at 1300 GMT on Sunday, and its lead story was about Japanese freelance journalist, Kenji Goto, whom the Takfiri ISIL terrorists claimed in a video released late on Saturday to have decapitated.

The news channel would have about 280 staff, including correspondents in 30 countries.

The 59-year-old Saudi owner of the channel, who is also a business magnate and investor, has complained about rampant and crouching corruption in state organizations in his home country, Saudi Arabia. He has also questioned Riyadh’s heavy-handed crackdown on anti-regime protests while supporting the militancy in Syria.

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