Alarab News suspended within hours of launch

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 03 February 2015

Alarab, the Arabic news channel owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, has been suspended just hours after its launch on 1 February 2015.

The 24-hour satellite channel, which is based in the Bahraini capital Manama, was suspended on Sunday after airing an interview with a local opposition activist Khalil al-Marzooq, a prominent critic of Bahrain's ruling Sunni royal family. The channel had promised to offer impartial news across the Middle East from the outset.

While Alarab News Channel said it had stopped broadcasting temporarily for "technical and administrative reasons", Bahrain's Information Ministry confirmed the satellite TV station had been suspended. The pro-Government newspaper Akhbar al-Khaleej reported that the suspension was due to the channel "not adhering to the norms prevalent in Gulf countries".

Jamal Khashoggi, general manager of Alarab, said at launch: "We felt there was a real need for an independent and impartial channel. We are proud that our programmes will go beyond the 'normal' to provide viewers with the stories that matter to them."

Al Arab TV was set-up in Bahrain because Saudi Arabia does not allow independent media to operate in the kingdom.

Bahrain's Information Ministry said it is working with Al Arab's management to resolve the matter