Bahrain says Alwaleed's new TV channel has been suspended

Information Affairs Authority issues statement saying Alarab TV failed to obtain licensing approval, failed to meet standards
Bahrain says Alwaleed's new TV channel has been suspended
By Staff writer
Mon 09 Feb 2015 04:36 PM

Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority (IAA) on Monday announced the suspension of Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed’s new Alarab TV channel for its failure to obtain the required licensing approval to commence broadcasting in the Gulf kingdom.

Last week, the TV channel stopped programming just one day after launching. Alarab TV was set-up in Bahrain because Saudi Arabia does not allow independent media to operate in the kingdom.

But on Monday the IAA said in a statement that the channel had also failed to match the standards of regional and international practice agreements, to take account of efforts aimed at stemming the tide of extremism and terrorism throughout the region and the wider world.

"In this regard, the IAA highlights that the channel's non-compliance was reported to the Higher Authority of Media and Communications and has resulted in the decision by the Cabinet to suspend the channel," the statement said.

"The IAA stresses that the decision has no impact upon principles of media freedom and is strictly based on the government's commitment to ensuring the diversity and impartiality of media outlets in the kingdom," it added.

"The IAA highlights its commitment to ensuring that all media institutions operate firmly within Bahrain's rules and regulations, which are designed to protect the interests and views of all.

"The IAA continues to cooperate with private institutions based in the Kingdom to ensure their compliance with Bahrain's rules and regulations, and recognises their important role in further enhancing the media and communications sector including creating more job opportunities, a key priority under the Kingdom's programme of sustainable economic development."

The station's official twitter account issued a statement last week after going off air which, translated from Arabic, read: "Stop broadcasting technical and administrative reasons, and we will come back soon, God willing."

Arabic daily Akhbar Alkhaleej claimed programming was suspended due to the fact the station aired footage of a member of the Bahraini opposition, Khalil al-Marzooq, which was deemed offensive to the government.

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