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Two Kuwaiti newspapers shut down over tape scandal

Kuwait's Public Prosecutor has ordered the shutdown of two prominent daily newspapers for reporting news about videotapes which included conversations referring to the removal of the regime.

It is the second time that Al-Watan and Alam Al-Youm have been shut down within 20 days for the same issue. In April, the publication of both newspapers was suspended for two weeks. On Monday, they were suspended for another five days.

The information ministry had asked all print, audio, visual and electronic media to comply with a gag order imposed by the public prosecutor. The ministry filed a complaint against the dailies after they breached the gag order for a second time.

Al-Watan is owned by a member of the Kuwaiti royal family, while Alam Al-Youm is close to the opposition.

The tape in question aroused a lot of controversy in Kuwait, with a great deal of activity on Twitter. In a statement issued last month, the Public Prosecutor said: "We are investigating Case 1241/2013 referred to on December 26, 2013 and related to tweets claiming the existence of a recorded tape that contained information indicating that some people are conspiring to overthrow the regime and challenging the rights and powers of His Highness the Emir."

The suspension of the two dailies came one day after a group of Kuwaitis took to the streets accusing the government of corruption. It was the first public activity by the opposition for more than a year.


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