The Bahrain government has blocked access to some websites run by opposition groups, which it says have been inciting sectarianism and carrying offensive content.
One of the blocked sites is the London-based Bahrain Freedom Movement which labelled the move as "a stain on the good image of Bahrain".
Nabeel Yacoub al-Hamer, the country's information minister, said that three or four sites were affected and that the groups would be allowed to resume if they promised to clean up their act.
He denied that the action was part of any censorship of criticism, maintaining that the government "welcomed, and was open for, criticism". But it did not want websites that incited sectarian strife.
Al-Hamer said that many opposition leaders contacted the Information Ministry and pledged to abide by the rules.
The time is particularly sensitive as Bahrain is due to have its first elections in 27 years after the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, reformed the government last year.
Among the reforms are rules that will allow women to run for office.
Many political observers see the reforms as an attempt to heal divisions between the Bahrain royal family and the Shia Muslim majority.
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