Bahrain bans main opposition newspaper

Paper critical of government accused of publishing "fabricated" reports about last month's pro-democracy protests.

    Shias constitute more than 60% of the population but have alleged discrimination by the country's Sunni rulers [AFP]

    Bahraini authorities have banned Al-Wasat, the country's main opposition newspaper, which has been critical of the government in its coverage of Shia-led protests quashed last month.

    The newspaper did not publish on Sunday after a message on state TV saying Bahrain's Information Ministry had ordered the paper to shut down.

    The state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) says officials accuse Al-Wasat of "unethical" coverage of the Shia-led uprising against the country's Sunni rulers.

    The Kingdom's Information Affairs Commission also referred the newspaper for investigation, BNA said.

    Al-Wasat has been accused of publishing "fabricated" reports last week about the "security developments in Bahrain".

    State television also claimed that the daily printed "false news" and "fake names of people claimed to have been abused by police".

    Al-Wasat's online edition also was blocked.

    The newspaper is headed by Masur al-Jamri, a former opposition activist during the Shia uprising in the 1990s, who returned to Bahrain in 2001 following a royal pardon.

    Bahrain has sharply tightened Internet and media controls under the emergency rule imposed last month after the anti-government protests.

    It also called in Gulf-Co-operation Council troops to quell the pro-democracy protests.

    Shias constitute more than 60 per cent of the population but they have alleged political and economic discrimination by the country's Sunni rulers.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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