Independent newspapers forced to close
Ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said for the past 48 years, censorship is ubiquitous in this country of 4 million inhabitants. The Internet is the main alternative space where the public can express its views and, as a result, citizen-journalists are frequently targeted by the authorities. They are often arrested, sometimes held incommunicado, and given long jail sentences on charges of insulting the head of state, the country’s culture or customs, or inciting illegal demonstrations and disruption of public order. Independent media outlets are targeted whenever they raise 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 let Azamn reopen in 2017, although an appeal court ruled in late 2016 that it should be allowed to resume operating.
126 in 2017
40.46 in 2017