Bahrain suspends BlackBerry news group service

September 21, 2010

Bahrain’s authorities have ordered a BlackBerry news provider to stop his services, citing violations of the media laws.

“The owner of the Muhannad Group and Bahrain Breaking News has been told to put an end to the services he was providing,” Abdullah Yateem, the head of publications and printing, said. “The move to stop the unlicensed dissemination of news is in line with the keenness of the media authority to uphold laws and regulations,” he said in a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The distribution and broadcasting of news requires a licence from the media authority to open a new bureau that collects information, news and reports, the official said.

Muhannad Group has since its launch early this year asserted itself as the major provider of news about Bahrain.

Earlier this year, it was told by the then culture and information ministry to stop its services until it regularized its status.

“We will stop the diffusion of news out of respect for the call to uphold the laws and regulations of the country,” the group owner said.

The media authority this week suspended the printing of two publications owned by Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest political society, and Waad, the country’s largest liberal society.

The authority said that both publications broke the law in their format and their content. Al Wefaq and Waad disputed the charges.

Bahrain this month said that it was serious about the application of its laws and rules to address violations and abuses.

The new zero-tolerance policy extends to all aspects of life in Bahrain, the authorities said, pledging to extend it to mosques.

An imam was on Saturday suspended for two weeks after he failed to comply with the law on the themes mentioned in sermons, the justice ministry said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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