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Wed 9 Nov 2016 12:47 PM

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Brunei daily newspaper closes following criticism of Mekkah visa hike

Newspaper issued an apology for the article on its website

Brunei daily newspaper closes following criticism of Mekkah visa hike
The front page of the final edition of The Brunei Times, published on Nov. 7, 2016.

Brunei's second-largest daily newspaper, the Brunei Times, published its final edition on Monday, after abruptly announcing plans for closure over the weekend, triggering online speculation about the reason.

The daily, which was launched in 2006, announced on its Sunday front page that it would cease publication the next day.

On Monday, it said in a longer notice that the closure was due to "business issues, reporting and journalistic standards that should meet the mark set, and also issues relating to business sustainability..."

The daily did not address posts on social media that it had been ordered to shut down for publishing an article on Oct. 26 about changes in visa fees imposed by the Saudi Arabian government for Brunei haj pilgrims.

The daily carried an apology for the article on its website on Friday.

A spokesman for the Brunei Times declined to comment on the posts and instead referred Reuters to Monday's front page statement. He said the newspaper had 110 people on its staff.

The Prime Minister's Department did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

"The Brunei Times... no longer has sustainable resources to continue its media and publication operations and the company's Board of Directors has agreed that the best course of action is to close down the paper," the paper's notice said.

Mr Khan 3 years ago

Why is basic free speech so severely punished in GCC countries?

Shafqat 3 years ago

It is good that they closed down. No newspaper in a Muslim country has right to criticise Saudi Arabia or any of their decisions as they are the guardians of the Holy Mosques.

ahmed 3 years ago

and why is your geography so bad? since when is Brunei in the Gulf or a member of the GCC?

Fentoni 2 years ago

Saudi Arabia is beyond criticism? Who made up these rules?