Is al-Jazeera being punished for poverty report? Bahrain's Culture and Media Ministry announced Wednesday that it will "temporarily halt" the work of reporters for al-Jazeera, the popular Arabic news network based in the neighboring Qatar.
The Ministry said the decision was taken as result of "work flaws pertaining to ensuring acceptable processional procedures, and violation of publicity and journalism laws."
Two days ago, the network aired an investigative report about the scope of poverty in Bahrain, a story that may constitute the actual reason for the local government's decision.
For the time being, authorities announced that the freeze on al-Jazeera's work "will continue until a memorandum of understanding is signed between the two sides and define the nature of the relationship between the Ministry and the network, in a manner that would safeguard the rights of both sides."
Following the decision, al-Jazeera issued a statement on behalf of network managers, expressing their "shock and amazement over the move." The network expressed its regret over the latest turn of events.
The latest crisis joins a long series of disagreements between al-Jazeera and other Middle Eastern states, including Israel. As result of various disputes, network reporters had been banned from Iraq, Tunisia, and Algeria.
While al-Jazeera reporters continue to work in Israel, officials in Jerusalem have refrained from granting interviews to the network for about two years now.