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Fri 5 Jun 2015 05:22 PM

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Kuwait cancels licences of three TV channels

Al-Watan, Al-Watan Plus and Al-Watan Ghanawi taken off air as licence of Kuwait Media Group is cancelled

Kuwait cancels licences of three TV channels

Kuwait's Ministry of Information has canceled the licences of three television channels operated by a media group which also owns a newspaper known for speaking out against the government, state news agency KUNA said.

The decision to take the Al-Watan, Al-Watan Plus and Al-Watan Ghanawi channels off the air was a result of an earlier trade ministry's decision to cancel the business licence of operator Kuwait Media Group, the agency said late on Thursday.

The group, which also published al-Watan newspaper - known for being critical of the government - had its licence cancelled by Kuwait's trade minister in January on the grounds that it had violated corporate regulations.

Al-Watan was one of two newspapers suspended by a judge for two weeks last year after IT reported on an audio recording that discussed an alleged plot to overthrow the Gulf state's rulers.

Kuwait, a major oil producer and US ally, has imposed a news blackout on an investigation into the tape, saying that media coverage about it was damaging to the country.

Kuwait has about a dozen daily newspapers, which often include criticism of government ministers, including some ruling family members. However, issues related to the ruling system itself - a hereditary dynasty - are especially sensitive.