Bahrain shuts private radio station

Bahrain's information ministry has stopped broadcasts by the first privately-held radio station in the tiny Gulf kingdom due to a series of "violations," an official says.

    The station was licensed as part of a drive to attract investors

    Jamal Daoud, who heads the ministry's publications department, said the ministry had cancelled the licence granted to Delmon Media, which operates the Sawt al-Ghad, or "the voice of tomorrow," radio station.

    The station focused on entertainment and steered clear of politics.

    The ministry also revoked an agreement between Bahraini state-run radio and television corporation and Delmon Media, he said.

    Sawt al-Ghad, which began operating in January, committed "a series of violations and did not abide by the terms of the agreement that enabled it to transmit," Daoud said on Sunday.

    He cited the owners' failure to present bank evidence that their company has a capital of three million dollars, their tampering with the airwaves on which they transmitted and "other violations."

    Although a draft law regulating audiovisual media in Bahrain is still before parliament, the information ministry licensed Sawt al-Ghad on the basis of internal bylaws "in a bid to open the market to investors," Daoud said.

    More licence requests

    The ministry is currently studying more than 10 requests for licenses for private radio and television stations, he said.

    But the newspaper Al-Waqt quoted Sawt al-Ghad's director, Raja Sawaya, as denying that the company had violated any of the terms of the agreement with the ministry.

    The cancellation order received on Saturday "did not contain any details about, or justifications for, the decision," he said, adding that Delmon was considering making a formal protest.

    Delmon is owned by Lebanese investors with Bahraini, Kuwaiti and Saudi partners. It has been preparing to launch a private television channel.

    SOURCE: AFP


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