Independent newspapers forced to close
Censorship is ubiquitous in this country of 4 million inhabitants ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said for the past 49 years. 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 and sometimes held incommunicado, 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 raise sensitive issues such as corruption within the judicial system. In 2016, two independent and outspoken newspapers, Azamn and Al-Balad, as well as 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.
127 in 2018
40.67 in 2018