Bahraini authorities on Tuesday deported two journalists working for the opposition's main newspaper, their colleagues said. The government has accused Al Wasat newspaper of unethical coverage of the Shiite uprising against the Sunni rulers.
The deported journalists from the newspaper are both Iraqi. Their colleagues told The Associated Press they have been working for Al Wasat _ Bahrain's most popular newspaper _ since 2005. The colleagues spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of harassment by the authorities.
Bahrain has sharply tightened Internet and media controls under the military rule imposed last month after weeks of protests by the tiny Gulf island kingdom's Shiite majority.
Authorities reversed a ban on Al Wasat print and online editions on Sunday after its editor-in-chief Mansoor al-Jamri and two other top editors stepped down. Al-Jamri told the AP he resigned from his position to save the paper from a campaign to muzzle anti-government media and crack down on the Shiite opposition.
Bahrain's government spokeswoman, Maysoon Sabkar, told reporters in Manama on Tuesday that al-Jamri was fired as the paper's chief editor. She said al-Jamri was responsible for running "fabricated news reports" and "false pictures" in the paper.
The Al Wasat board named Obaydli al-Obaydli as the new editor-in-chief, Sabkar said, adding that authorities are also taking "necessary legal measures" against the newspaper. She did not elaborate.
In a statement, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned what it said was the "Bahraini government's strongarm tactics which effectively forced a change in a prominent paper's editorial management."
Bahrain's king declared emergency rule last month and cracked down on protests by the country's Shiite majority against a Sunni dynasty that has ruled Bahrain for two centuries, demanding more rights and freedom.
At least 27 people have been killed, since the protests began in Bahrain in mid-February.
Hundreds of protesters, activists and opposition leaders have been detained by the authorities. Bloggers and journalists have been threatened by armed thugs and harassed by authorities.