Forward into the past

Photograph: Bahrain News Agency

Surely it's time for everyone, including the British government, to stop talking about Bahrain's "reforms".

Bahrain government news agency, 
27 December 2011:

Information Affairs Authority President Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa today announced that Al-Arab News Channel and Rotana Media Group would establish their headquarters in Bahrain starting next year.

He described the move as value-adding to the march of the media in Bahrain, stressing the freedom of expression and opinion which are prevailing in the kingdom ...

Bahrain government news agency, 
28 January, 2015:

Al-Arab satellite news TV will start broadcasting from Bahrain soon. Information Affairs Minister Isa bin Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi hailed the upcoming launch of the channel as a value-added outlet for the pan-Arab media. 

"The launch of the Bahrain-based channel builds on landmark achievements in the prosperous era of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa", he said as he visited the channel headquarters at the Bahrain World Trade Centre. 

He described the milestone as one of the fruits yielded by HM the King's pioneering reform project which promoted Bahrain's standing in all fields. In a statement today, he said that the launch of the news outlet would bolster Bahrain's media status, help attract leading international enterprises, woo investments, generate jobs and hone the skills of national media staff ... 

Bahrain government news agency, 
2 February, 2015:

The Bahrain-based Al-Arab News TV Channel announced the suspension of its transmission due to technical and administrative reasons and said it will be back soon.

Bahrain government news agency,
9 February, 2015:

The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) has announced the suspension of Al-Arab satellite channel following its failure to obtain the required licensing approval to commence broadcasting in Bahrain.

The IAA emphasised in a statement 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.

"In this regard, the IAA highlights that the Channel's non-compliance was reported to the Higher Authority of Media and Communications and has resulted in the decision by the Cabinet to suspend the Channel," the statement said.

For those who haven't been following the story, it appears that Al-Arab's offence was to behave more like a normal broadcaster than a regime mouthpiece. 

Its first programme discussed a controversial interior ministry decision to revoke the nationality of 72 Bahrainis and its report included a three-minute interview with the deputy leader of Bahrain's main opposition group, al-Wefaq. More background 
Posted by Brian Whitaker
Tuesday, 10 February 2015