RSF: Al-Wasat Closure an Unprecedented Act of Censorship, Ends Independent Journalism in Bahrain
2017-07-06 - 1:32 am
Bahrain Mirror: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the Bahraini government to lift its ban on the country's only independent media outlet, the Arabic-language daily Al Wasat, which is still closed a month after being suspended "until further notice" by the information ministry on 4 June. It was forced to lay off all its employees (about 160) at the end of June.
Its closure apparently violates article 28 of Bahrain's 2002 press law, which prohibits suspending newspapers without a court order, RSF added.
"Al Wasat was suspended on 4 June for no good reason," said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk. "This suspension ‘until further notice' constitutes an unprecedented act of censorship and means the end of independent journalism in Bahrain."
She further called on information minister Ali Al-Rumaihi to rescind this disgraceful decision and to do everything possible to help the newspaper to resume operating.
The pro-government Bahraini Journalists Association expressed regret at Al Wasat's closure and proposed coordination with the labour ministry with the aim of finding new jobs for its employees. Several Al Wasat journalists have criticized the BJA's response on social networks, calling it belated and hypocritical.
RSF had issued, along with other NGOs, a joint letter condemning the closure of Al-Wasat on June 8.
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