Kuwaiti newspapers suspended again over videotape scandal

Two dailies, including one owned by a member of the ruling family, defy ban on reporting on probe into tapes that discuss alleged plot to overthrow rulers

Two Kuwaiti newspapers, including one owned by a member of the ruling family, have been suspended for the second time in less than two months after they published stories about a videotape that discusses an alleged plot to overthrow the Gulf state's rulers, Kuwait Times has reported.

Al Watan and Alam Al Youm were originally forced to close for two weeks in April after defying an Information Ministry media blackout on a sensitive investigation into the tape.

The ministry claimed earlier media coverage about the tape had been damaging to the country.

The newspapers claimed a judge’s decision to force them to close was illegal.

The latest five-day suspension, which starts today, was imposed by a judge after the Information Ministry last week referred the newspapers for investigation, Kuwait Times said.

Al Watan is owned by Sheikh Ali Al Khalifa Al Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, while Alam Al Youm is a privately owned pro-opposition daily.

The newspaper suspensions coincide with an opposition-planned public rally, in which former MP Musallam Al Barrak claims he will “expose major corruption scams”, Kuwait Times reported.

The Kuwaiti political system has been rocky in recent months, after relative stability following the most recent election – the sixth in as many years – in July.

Five opposition MPs have resigned in anger after a request to grill the prime minister was rejected.

The Education Minister also resigned after two Egyptian workers died on a government construction site, and the Finance Minister stepped down amid a separate controversy.

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