Bahrain lifts ban on pro-op­po­si­tion news­pa­per af­ter crit­i­cism

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bahrain has given per­mis­sion to a pro-op­po­si­tion news­pa­per to re­sume pub­lish­ing af­ter a two-day ban that drew crit­i­cism from hu­man rights groups, state media said.

A state­ment from the In­for­ma­tion Af­fairs Au­thor­ity re­ported by the of­fi­cial BNA news agency said that the de­ci­sion had been taken af­ter Al-Wasat’s ed­i­tors un­der­took to re­spect the law on publi­ca­tions.

An­nounc­ing the pa­per’s sus­pen­sion on Thurs­day, the author­i­ties had ac­cused it of “vi­o­la­tion of the law and re­peated dis­sem­i­na­tion of in­for­ma­tion that af­fects na­tional unity and the king­dom’s re­la­tion- ship with other coun­tries.”

Bahrain has seen fre­quent un­rest since the Sunni mi­nor­ity rulers of the small Gulf king­dom crushed a Shi­ite-led upris­ing for re­form four years ago.

At the height of the 2011 upris­ing, Al-Wasat was sus­pended by author­i­ties, and its chief editor Man­soor al-Jamri was tried and fined for al­legedly pub­lish­ing false in­for­ma­tion. It was later al­lowed to re­open.

The U.S.-based Hu­man Rights First watchdog crit­i­cized the latest move against the news­pa­per.

“The im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of Al-Wasat news­pa­per in Bahrain is another se­ri­ously alarm­ing, if pre­dictable, move from the Bahraini gov­ern­ment in si­lenc­ing all op­po­si­tion voices and crush­ing dis­sent,” said Hu­man Rights First’s Brian Doo­ley.

The watchdog de­scribed Al-Wasat as an in­de­pen­dent and widely re­spected news­pa­per.

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