Bahraini authorities should revoke an order barring the independent news outlet Al-Wasat from publishing and stop harassing the newspaper and its journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Ministry of Information Affairs yesterday ordered Al-Wasat to cease publishing in print and online indefinitely, the outlet's editor-in-chief Mansoor al-Jamri, told CPJ.

Al-Jamri said that an official from the ministry called an Al-Wasat employee to notify the outlet of the ban and did not offer any reason for the closure. An article about the ban by the official Bahrain News Agency refers to an editorial published in Al-Wasat yesterday that "included the defamation of a sisterly Arab country." Al-Jamri told CPJ that the Bahrain News Agency article may be referring to an op-ed about protests in Morocco's Rif region.

"Al-Wasat has long been the scapegoat for a government fearful of allowing a free press," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "This ban should be lifted immediately."

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