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IFJ Condemns Al-Wasat Closure, Calls on Bahrain Govít to Hold Responsibility for Staff who Lost Jobs

2017-06-30 - 3:55 am

Bahrain Mirror: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the refusal of Bahraini government to lift a ban on Al Wasat newspaper, which led to its closure this week.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said, "We strongly condemn the refusal of the Bahraini government to lift the ban on Al Wasat newspaper which has forced its closure. The government must be held responsible for the loss of these jobs and the further narrowing of the space for independent journalism."

He called for "the Bahraini government to stop its policy of curtailing diversity in Bahraini media and intimidating independent journalists".

Earlier this month the IFJ demanded that the Bahraini authorities should have immediately lifted the suspension of Al Wasat and guarantee freedom of speech for all media organizations. The title was suspended until further notice on 4 June and accused by the Bahraini ministry of information affairs of "violating the law, (...) repeating the publication of material likely to stir up the community and affect the relations of the Kingdom of Bahrain with other countries".

On 24 June, in a message addressed to all 160 employees of the newspaper, board chairman Adel al-Maskati wrote: "We regret to inform you that the board of directors ... has decided to terminate the employment contracts with the employees".

IFJ added that Al Wasat was one of the five daily Arabic titles in Bahrain and considered one of the independent media outlets, noting that it had been subject to several bans since its creation in 2002.

Arabic version


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