- Bahrain has banned the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera
from reporting from inside the Gulf state, Information Minister Nabil al-Hamr
said on Friday.
- According to a news bulletin on the Qatar-based channel,
Mr al-Hamr said the ban was being imposed because the station was biased
towards Israel and against Bahrain.
- The television station was denied permission to cover
Bahrain's first election for almost three decades, which took place on
Thursday, despite the presence of Arab and world media organisations.
- Al Jazeera was barred from covering the local elections
because it "deliberately seeks to harm Bahrain" Al Jazeera quoted
Mr al-Hamr as saying.
- Government anger
- Mr al-Hamr is said to have accused the station of being
infiltrated by Zionists.
- "We believe (Al Jazeera) is suspect and represents
the Zionist side in the region. We will not deal with this channel because
we object to its coverage of current affairs. It is a channel penetrated
by Zionists," he was quoted as saying.
- On Thursday Bahrain held landmark local elections in
the first stage of the country's new move towards democracy.
- The vote was significant because it is the first time
in Bahrain's history that women have been able either to stand or to vote
- Sources within Bahrain say the government had been angered
by Al Jazeera airing footage of recent anti-US protests in Bahrain without
- The protests were triggered by Israeli military action
in the West Bank.
- The Ministry of Information in Manama confirmed that
Al Jazeera had been now been banned from Bahrain, but would not comment
on whether the minister had accused the station of Zionism.
- Al Jazeera gained world fame in the wake of the 11 September
terrorist attacks in the US through its exclusive footage of videotapes
of Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terror network.