Despite a uniform media landscape and apparent unanimity, self-censorship is the rule in this peaceful sultanate and criticism of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (or his cousin and predecessor, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died in 2020 after reigning for 50 years) is not tolerated. Journalists and citizen-journalists are often arrested (and sometimes held incommunicado) and some are given long jail sentences on charges of insulting the head of state or the country’s culture and customs, or inciting illegal demonstrations and disruption of public order. Independent media outlets are also targeted whenever they take too close an interest in sensitive issues such as corruption within the judicial system. In 2016, two independent and outspoken newspapers, Azamn and Al-Balad, and the online magazine Al-Mowaten, were forced to close or had to suspend operations as a result of political pressure. The authorities did not allow for Azamn to reopen in 2017, although an appeal court ruled in late 2016 that it should be allowed to resume operations.