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Sun 27 May 2012 04:56 PM

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Bahrain halts Arabsat broadcasts on island

Authorities shut down broadcaster's signals amid accusations of an Iranian spin war

Bahrain halts Arabsat broadcasts on island

Bahrain has ceased broadcasting of television channels via Arabsat amid claims Iranian stations have been waging a spin war against the embattled Gulf state's government.

According to the Bahrain News Agency, authorities will shut off signals from Arabsat's satellite from June 1, the country's Information Affairs Authority (IAA) said.

Bahrain, which has been rocked by Arab Spring inspired popular unrest for more than a year, claims that Iranian broadcasters have been attempting to incite sectarianism and destabilise the island politically.

The IAA added that the
decision was taken following repeated requests since February 20 of last year to
Arabsat to stop broadcasting Iranian stations on the island.

Arabsat did not respond to Arabian Business's request for comment.

Iran, which like Bahrain is populated by a Shia Muslim majority, has been vociferous in its criticism of the Bahraini government in light of the island's political turmoil, as well as a recently mooted union between the country and neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

In response, the 21-nation Arab League last week demanded Iran halt what it described as "media escalation campaign".

"The Iranian government must stop its media escalation campaign and provocative statements from Iranian officials regarding the situation in Bahrain," Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said in a statement.

"Any union steps between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are a sovereign issue of the two states and other Gulf countries and no other country has the right to interfere in it," he said.

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