Oman to quiz 2 journalists over homosexuality article

AFP , Thursday 5 Sep 2013

The article included an interview with a gay expat in Oman who said the sultanate is more tolerant towards homsexuals than other Gulf monarchies

Oman's information ministry has referred the editor of a local weekly and a journalist to public prosecution for questioning over an article on homosexuality in the sultanate, a statement said Thursday.

The ministry of information "does not allow harming the fundamentals, principles, and values of the society or undermining its moral and religious values," it said in the statement carried by the official ONA news agency.

The top media authority said it decided to refer the editor-in-chief and the author of the article to the public prosecution "to launch a lawsuit."

The controversial article appeared in the English-language newspaper, The week, on August 29, titled "Oman's discreet gay community is finding new ways to live the way they want to."

It talked about homosexuals in the country, featuring an interview with a gay expat in Oman who says the sultanate is more tolerant towards homosexuals than other Gulf monarchies.

The article was strongly criticised by the Omani Journalists Association which denounced the "irresponsible behaviour on part of the newspaper" and urged the information ministry to withdraw the licence of the weekly.

The Week, a privately-owned publication that is distributed for free, had apologised for the article. Its chief editor Samir al-Zakwani refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

Homosexuality is illegal in Oman and carries a jail sentence of between six months and three years in prison.

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