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Arab TV news goes off the air hours after start

The news channel intends to offer unbiased, independent reporting.

By Ed Adamczyk
Arab TV news goes off the air hours after start
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of Alarab News Channel (CC/ wikimedia.org/ Kingdom Holding Co.)

MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Alarab, a television news channel broadcasting from Bahrain, went off the air within hours of its launch after a temporary suspension by the government.

After it presented an interview Sunday with Khalil Marzook, a prominent critic of the Bahraini government who discussed the stripping of 72 Bahrainis of their citizenship Saturday, Alarab TV suddenly went off the air, claiming "technical and administrative problems."

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Marzook is leading member of Wafaq, the major opposition group in Bahrain. Shia citizens in Bahrain rose up against the Sunni-led government in 2011, demanding equality and political freedom.

The country's Information Ministry said it temporarily suspended the channel for "not adhering to the norms prevalent in Gulf countries," the Bahraini newspaper Akhbar al-Khaleej, the BBC reported Monday.

The news channel, managing editor Jamal Khashoggi said prior to the launch, "is aimed at Arabs from Morocco on one end of the Arab world to Saudi Arabia on the other, and everyone in between. We are not going to take sides. We will provide accurate and objective information."

It is owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and will compete with a number of news channels, including Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera and Sky News Arabia in the Arab television news market.

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