Bahrain: Al Wasat closes

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Yesterday’s letter from the Board of Directors to the staff of Bahrain’s only independent newspaper Al Wasat was a heavy blow for the country, and for journalism in the Middle East. It confirmed that the board had “decided to terminate the employment contracts with the employees, due to the cessation of business activities of Al-Wasat newspaper, in accordance with the decision of the Ministry of Information Affairs issued on 4 June 2017, a decision that has caused losses to the Company.”

The 4 June closure ordered by the government was the third time the newspaper had been ordered to stop publishing since widespread protests broke out in 2011, and was based on the claim that the paper had published content “offensive to a sisterly Arab state,” after it covered protests in Morocco.

The decision forced the board to end 15 years of independent reporting. Although it had to operate within tight media restrictions, Al Wasat carved a reputation for journalism. Its editor Mansoor Al Jamri is recognized across the region and beyond for the quality of his work, and was awarded the Committee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award in 2011 and the Peace Through Media Award the following year.

Source credit – Huffington Post

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