In order to avoid mass unrest in Bahrain of the type seen in the previous few days, the Bahraini government has attempted to censor the Bahraini media in the past. On the 22nd June 2009, the newspaper Ahkbar Al Khaleej was suspended for one day for publishing an article critical of Iranian leaders and suggesting that Mahmoud Ahmedinajad may have Jewish ancestry in a move to prevent unrest amongst the Shia population. The article appeared around the time of the protests following the disputed Iranian election. The paper takes generally leftist and Arab nationalist slant and is seen as close to the country's main opposition party.
The paper has also attracted controversy previously in 2005 when columnist Samirah Rajab attacked Ayatollah Sistani of Iraq for supposed complicity in the American occupation of Iraq. The incident resulted in strong complaints from Sistani's representatives in Bahrain and death threats against Rajab.