bahrain news channel
Newly launched Alarab news channel was suspended and accused of failing "to take account of efforts aimed at stemming the tide of extremism and terrorism" (Getty/AFP)

A newly launched Arab news channel has been suspended in Bahrain after it aired an interview with a Shia opposition leader.

Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority (IAA) said that Alarab news channel failed "to take account of efforts aimed at stemming the tide of extremism and terrorism," al-Jazeera reported.

"It has been decided to halt the activities of Alarab," a statement from the IAA said.

Pro-government daily Akhbar al Khaleej said the channel was taken off the air for "not adhering to the norms prevalent in Gulf countries".

The channel, owned by the nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, was only on air for a few hours after it interviewed Khalil al-Marzouq, a government critic and member of Bahrain's Shia opposition Al-Wefaq party.

Sheikh Ali Salman, Al-Wefaq's leader, has been detained since December 2014 on charges of promoting regime change by force.

Human Rights Watch described the arrest as "calculated" and accused the government of failing to produce evidence to support Salman's detention.

News of the channel closure comes a few weeks after a video showing a protester being shot in the head for holding a placard in support of Salman sparked worldwide outrage.

The protester was allegedly shot by the country's police.

Bahrain is a Sunni-ruled kingdom often criticised for its crackdown on human rights.

The government not only limits freedom of expression in the country, but it has also been condemned for its widespread use of torture and the persecution of the Shia community, who makes up the majority of Bahrain population.