Oman: paper suspended after running interview with gay man

The Week apologizes, then disappears from newsstands

05 September, 19:41

    Oman: paper suspended after running interview with gay man Oman: paper suspended after running interview with gay man

    (ANSAmed) - DUBAI - Muscat, Oman based English-language paper The Week has suspended publication after running an interview with a gay man in a country in which homosexuality is punishable by prison, beatings, and even death.

    Titled The Outsiders, the article telling the life of a gay man in Oman, and suggesting the monarchy is more tolerant than its Gulf neighbors sparked an outcry on social media.

    Tawfiq al-Lawati, a member of the Shura Council - a body that assists the country's sultan in policy-making - called on Twitter for the ministry of information to intervene and for the weekly to be suspended. ''The problem of homosexuality is understandable,'' Lawati said in a later interview. ''But an article suggesting that Oman is a paradise for homosexuals is unacceptable.'' The paper responded by running a front-page apology. ''The Weeknever intended, voluntarily or involuntarily, to damage, wound or offend readers' feelingsThe Week publicly apologizes to its readers, whose opinions it respects'', the editors wrote.

    While authorities did not confirm or deny they took action to force The Weekly off the stands, its editors told advertisers the newspaper would not appear on newsstands on Thursday.

    While gays live an underground life in Oman, the press occasionally attempts to break the taboo by running stories about openly gay or transgender people. The most recent case is that of blogger Ala'a Jabar, 21, whose voice was one of the most active in galvanizing the 2011 uprising against former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. In June of this year, Jabar came out on his blog, causing widespread consternation at a confession that would have such grave social and penal consequences.

    ''I contributed to the revolution, and the revolution cannot be complete without changing all aspects of a society and of ourselves,'' Jabar replied. (ANSAmed).

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