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Kuwait court shuts 2 newspapers over coup articles

Sunday - 4/20/2014, 3:29pm  ET

HUSSAIN AL-QATARI
Associated Press

KUWAIT CITY (AP) -- A Kuwaiti court has temporarily suspended the publication of two independent newspapers over articles about a secret probe into allegations of a coup plot to overthrow the Gulf monarchy's government, the official state news agency reported Sunday.

KUNA carried a statement by the Information Ministry saying it notified Al Watan and Alam Al Yawm newspapers of the suspension because they had violated a prosecutor-ordered media blackout of the investigation.

According to the ministry, a judge ordered the newspapers to stop printing for two weeks.

The deputy editor-in-chief at Al Watan, Waleed al-Jassim, said his newspaper regrets the decision and plans to contest the ruling.

Two television stations owned by Al Watan have been closed in compliance with the ban as well, al-Jassim said. Both stations were off the air late Sunday.

Al-Jassim said the newspaper's website will stay online because it falls under a different jurisdiction.

Kuwait prides itself on having the Gulf's most free-wheeling political system and a vibrant press, but denouncing the Western-backed emir is illegal.

The Kuwaiti prosecutor's office earlier this month ordered that a probe into the videotape be held in secret and called for a media blackout of the investigation.

The tape purportedly contains allegations of a plot to topple the ruling system led by the emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

Public Prosecutor Dherar al-Asousi has said the media blackout is necessary to preserve the public interest.


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