Bahrain suspends Al-Arab TV

Last week Bahrain’s media regulator closed down, after less than 60 minutes of transmission, billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s brand new all-news TV channel, Al-Arab TV. The channel is “partnered” with Bloomberg Television.

The broadcasts started on February 1st from its base in Bahrain’s capital city Manama, with the intention of broadcasting to the MENA region. The channel has been a work-in-progress for Al-Waleed and his team since September 2011.  Prince Al-Waleed last week significantly reduced his holdings in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  He also has significant stakes in Rotana Media.

However, the channel seems to have made the mistake of broadcasting an interview with a Bahraini opposition politician (and a former member of the country’s Council of Representatives) Khalil al-Marzook.

BBC Monitoring is reporting that Bahrain’s media body suspended the channel because it had not obtained the proper licence, and had “failed” to meet “regional and international” agreements regarding “efforts aimed at stemming the tide of extremism and terrorism throughout the region and the wider world”.

Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority, in a statement, emphasised 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.

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