Posted on December 13, 2010

Kuwait authorities have shut down the offices of news channel Al Jazeera and withdrawn the accreditation of its correspondents in a fresh clash between the network and the Gulf state, the Doha-based news channel said on Monday.

The move is thought to be in response to television coverage of a police crackdown on a gathering held by the Kuwaiti opposition last week, the news channel said.

News reports have also suggested the network angered the government by airing a programme showing Musallam al-Barrak, a lawmaker who represents one of the main opposition blocs in the Kuwaiti assembly.

In a statement carried by state news agency KUNA, the government confirmed it had revoked the station's network licence and blamed the television station for meddling in Kuwait's domestic affairs.

It is the third time the Gulf country has closed down Al Jazeera’s offices in objection to its coverage.

Kuwait first closed the bureau for a month in 1999 when an Iraqi caller insulted Kuwait’s Emir, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, during a live show.

The local bureau was opened again two years later.

In 2002, the network’s offices were closed again after Kuwait officials deemed its local coverage to be biased against the Gulf state.

The Qatar-based network has a record of tense relations with Arab countries over its coverage of sensitive political issues. In May, its Bahrain office was suspended and crew were banned from traveling to the Gulf state after it accused the channel of flouting press rules.