…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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Media Corruption in US Conceals Atrocious System of Human Rights Abuse in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

February 17, 2014   No Comments

Detained journalists and bloggers appear in Bahrain Court of Injustice

Detained journalists and bloggers appear in court
30 January, 2014 – Reporters without Borders

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its condemnation of the arbitrary behaviour of the Bahraini judicial system, which has postponed the trials of several detained news and information providers in the past two weeks.

The judicial authorities must abandon all the trumped-up charges they have brought against journalists just because they covered anti-government street protests, the media freedom organization said.

Reporters Without Borders also calls on the authorities to systematically order independent investigations whenever torture and mistreatment in detention is alleged. Failure to investigate violates article 12 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

RWB and nine other human rights groups wrote to Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, and Juan Méndez, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on 15 December asking them to investigate the arrests, detention and torture of three Bahraini journalists.

Arrested for covering recent protests, the three journalists – reporter Mohamed Hassan, freelance photographer Hussain Hubail and freelance cameraman Qassim Zain AlDeen – all say they were tortured. Hassan has been released but Hubail and Deen are still held.

In the latest act of judicial foot-dragging, a judge yesterday postponed the well-known photographer Ahmed Humeidan’s trial until 26 March, when a verdict is supposed to be issued. He has been held since December 2012 on a charge of attacking a police station in Sitra in April 2012, although he was not even there at the time.

His trial began last February but the prosecution kept on postponing hearings because it had difficulty producing witnesses. His lawyer has repeatedly but unsuccessfully requested an independent investigation into his client’s allegations of torture. His requests to the prison authorities to let his client be examined by a doctor have also been unsuccessful.

On 27 January, the trial of the freelance photographer Hussain Hubail and the blogger Jassim Al-Nuaimi were postponed until 16 February for the final defence statements. …more

February 2, 2014   No Comments

UN urgently need to investigate illegal detention, torture of journalists in Bahrain

January 6, 2014   No Comments

A Score of Rights Group Call Out to UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture of Bahrain Journalists

Ten rights groups write to UN special rapporteurs about torture of three journalists
21 December, 2013 – Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights

Ten human rights groups have written to Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, and Juan Méndez, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, asking them to investigate the arrests, detention and torture of three Bahraini journalists: reporter Mohamed Hassan, photographer Hussain Hubail and cameraman Qassim Zain Aldeen.

All three journalists face trial on charges relating to their reporting on recent protests against the government of Bahrain. They were arrested within a few days of each other in August 2013. The journalists have all reported that they were subjected to torture. Mr Hubail and Mr Zain Aldeen remain in detention, while Mr Hassan has been released on bail.

Read the 15 December letter signed by Media Legal Defence Initiative, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada, PEN International and Reporters Without Borders. …source

December 21, 2013   No Comments

Regime Silences Bahrain Press in bid to Kill Democracy

November 1, 2013   No Comments

Bahrain regime bribes and State Department sequestration of Press hides Human Rights Crimes from US public

January 4, 2013   No Comments

Human Rights Groups Denounce Foreign Press Blockade in Bahrain

Bahrain: ANHRI Denounces Denying the American Journalist “Nicholas Kristof” Entry into Bahrain
30 December, 2012 – Arab Network for Human Rights Information

The Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI), today, denounces the denying of the American journalist “Nicholas Kristof” entry into Bahrain.

New York Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof was also denied entry into Bahrain on December 17th, Kristof is an American citizen. He mentioned on his twitter account that “he is at Bahrain airport and the government is denying him entery”. He added that the airport officials acknowledged that US citizens are allowed to transit through Bahrain for 72 hours without a visa, but officials informed him that he is on a ‘blacklist’. He commented that “Bahrain which is our (ally) is terrified from human rights reporting”. Kristof visited Bahrain several times and met several activists, among them, the significant activist “Nabil Rajab” who is now in prison and the human rights activist “Zainb Alkhawaja”. He also wrote several significant reports related to Bahrain since the beginning of the revolution.

It worthy to be noted, that this is not the first time to deny entry of “Kristof”, as he was denied entry on the beginning of February after the authorities denied to enter Bahrain.

ANHRI said that “denying the journalists’ entry into the country, is not the only violation committed by the authorities against the press freedoms, as 2012 witnessed several violations against the journalists, which included physical assaults, murder and legal prosecution to number of them”.

ANHRI has called on the regime to respect the freedom of expression, the press freedoms and to stop harassing the journalists and media-professionals who support the Bahraini uprising. …source

December 31, 2012   No Comments

Bahraini journalist Ahmed Radhi, detained for four months – was critical of Bahrain-Saudi relations

Critical Bahraini journalist detained for four months
13 September, 2012 – Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, September 13, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the ongoing imprisonment of Ahmed Radhi, a freelance journalist who was first detained four months ago after making critical comments about Bahraini-Saudi relations. Radhi now faces terrorism and other anti-state charges which he says were lodged after he was abused and forced into making a false confession.

“Bahrain must halt this practice of prosecuting critical journalists for their dissenting views,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Authorities should release Ahmed Radhi immediately.”

Radhi, a contributor to several local news websites, has been imprisoned since May 16, when he was held for several days without a lawyer present and without his family’s knowledge of his whereabouts, the reports said. He was last in court in Manama on August 30, when his detention was extended for 15 days, according to news reports. Although that extension appears to be running out, his next scheduled date was not immediately clear.

The case dates to May, when in press interviews Radhi made comments criticizing a proposed union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, news reports said. Radhi posted the comments on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, saying the union would justify the occupation of Bahrain by Saudi troops, which had been sent in March 2011 to stifle popular protests. The journalist’s family has said they believe his detention is a result of the public comments he had made, according to the Bahrain Center of Human Rights.

On June 16, a local court charged Radhi with “igniting a flame to achieve a terrorist purpose,” “possession of flammable substances (Molotovs),” and “participation in assembly to disturb public security and using violence to achieve that,” according to news reports. Radhi has told the court that he was tortured into making a confession and made to sign papers he had not read, the human rights group said. No evidence has been provided to support the allegations, the group said.

In a June letter to the human rights center, Radhi said security forces had beaten and blindfolded him and subjected him to physical and psychological torture to force him to confess to the charges brought against him, the Bahraini human rights group reported. In addition to his freelance work, Radhi has also worked for the pro-government daily Al-Ayyam and as a correspondent for the Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV before the government withdrew his accreditation, news reports said. …more

September 14, 2012   No Comments

An embarrassed King Hamad, begins suing news publications critical of his bungling, failed regime

Bahrain ‘to sue over Independent reporting’
5 July, 2012 – Stop Making Sense

The IndependentThe government of Bahrain claimed yesterday to have commissioned a UK-based law firm to file a case against. The Independent for its reporting on the crackdown on protests in the country.

Nawaf al-Mawada, a representative of the Information Affairs Authority, told Bahrain’s state news agency that the action was being taken because The Independent had “deliberately published a series of unrealistic and provocative articles targeting Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. A correspondence from the Information Affairs Authority to The Independent cites an opinion piece by Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, in which he criticises the Bahraini government for putting 48 surgeons on trial, as being “based on slanderous hearsay”. It also claims that “using columns, features and news to publish misinformation in repeated attacks on our people and rulers amounts to libel and will be treated as such in accordance with the law”.

At least 31 people have died in demonstrations against the 200-year rule of the Al Khalifa family, which began in February. …source

July 6, 2012   No Comments

“Web Can Forment Openness As Corrupt Regimes Fall”

Media: “Web Can Forment Openness As Corrupt Regimes Fall” – WSJ
Ben Rooney – Wall Street Journal – 28 June, 2012

Throughout the short history of the Web plenty of commentators have spouted some pretty good nonsense about it. Nicholas Negroponte, the then head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Laboratory, predicted that the Net would bring world peace by breaking down national borders.

Speaking at a conference in Brussels in 1997 he told the credulous audience, in 20 years time children “are not going to know what nationalism is.”

To be fair to the utopian Mr. Negroponte he was following in a long, and inglorious, tradition of over-imbuing technology with near mystical properties. A century earlier the transoceanic cable was seen as an equal harbinger of fraternal love. “It unites distant nations, making them feel that they are members of one great family… By such strong ties does it tend to bind the human race in unity, peace, and concord,” wrote one commentator in 1880.

But was Mr. Negroponte as wrong as all that? For while the Internet may not have brought world peace, what it can do is help countries emerging from conflict build the sort of institutions that build new democracies.

One of the things that the Internet is good at is bringing a measure of transparency and sunlight to historically dark places.

Dark places like prerevolution Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. How were billions of dollars of net worth able to be accumulated by Moammar Gadhafi, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Hosni Mubarak? It is because of the lack of transparency within financial systems, within government tenders, within significant sectors of the Libyan, Tunisian and Egyptian governments.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, a country that has very successfully made the transition from Soviet vassal to Western democracy partly through huge investment in technology, said he believes e-government can help root out corruption.

“The big problem is not toppling the dictator and going home from the city square,” he said. “It is what do you do after that. Do you have effective institutions? You get rid of one dictator and if you don’t build the institutions you pretty soon have another.

“One of the ways of building institutions is through e-governance, where you can implement transparency, reduce all the rent-seeking behavior of people who come into power, because however noble they may be, suddenly they realize ‘I can handle this tender…’.”

Mr. Ilves wants to use the experiences of his country to help others, particularly those in North Africa attempting to make the transition. He is working on plans to establish a center in Estonia to help emerging democracies embrace open government and technology. …more

June 29, 2012   No Comments

Bahrain and media repression

No Media Reform in Bahrain
6 May, 2012 – Marc Owen Jones blog

Back in October Bahrain announced that it would be opening a brand new media city, complete with new buildings, technological stuff, and an attractive investment climate. The purpose, ‘to entice companies operating in the media arena‘. Like middle-aged men who buy expensive sport cars, one can’t help thinking that this move was one of overcompensation – a poor attempt to mask inadequacies through a grandiose and expensive gesture. Indeed, the idea of building a ‘media city’ in a country deemed by Reporters Without Borders to be an ‘enemy of the internet’ is so ironic that it’s almost self-satirizing. A bit like the fake Ed Husain account, where does reality end and the joke begin?

What this media city represents is an attempt to deflect criticisms of Bahrain’s media industry through marketing Bahrain as a beacon of media modernity. The reality of course is much different, for despite these technological developments, Bahrain’s media industry seems to be regressing. This is highlighted by the appointment of Sameera Rajab as Minister of State for Information Affairs, a move that illustrates the regime’s habit of rewarding people for loyalty instead of competence. The fact that the post was created especially for Sameera Rajab is particularly galling, not least because the title has no correlation to the reality of what Sameera does. As the Prime Minister stated, (ok the parody account of the Prime Minister), ‘Miss Information’ is perhaps a more appropriate name. …more

May 9, 2012   No Comments

After Aquiring an Arsenal of Western Public Relations Experts, King Hamad blames reputation for brutalizing victims on media

Bahrain: The Government vs. Media
2 May, 2012 – POMED

King Hamad Bin Aissa Al Khalifa of Bahrain accused foreign media of of exaggerating unrest and inciting violence. ”It is quite clear that Bahrain has been targeted by purposeful, willful campaigns in some foreign media that sought to distort true facts, instigate violence, sabotage, hatred and hostility among citizens in our united nation,” the King said. Though the King affirmed freedom of the press in this speech, Reporters Without Borders labeled him as a “predator” of the media, and blamed him for the violence and abuse of journalists and bloggers. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa urged regime loyalists to vote against the Al Jazeera documentary “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark” in the Radio Times poll.

Frank Gardner wrote his report about his interview with Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. Brian Dooley called upon the government to release al-Khawaja instead of force feeding him, and added, “All of the 502 people convicted by the military court last year should have their convictions overturned, be freed immediately and have charges dropped against them.”

In related news, Naser al-Raas, a Canadien citizen, is now back in Canada and told reporters of his year-long ordeal in which he was tortured for 31 days. ”The first time that I felt safe was yesterday,” said al-Raas, who said he was electrocuted and subject to three mock executions — where his jailors fired rifles above his head — during his incarceration. Jess Hill asks: “will this quest for democracy result in Bahrain being taken over by its neighbour, Saudi Arabia?” …more

May 4, 2012   No Comments

Seven International Journalist Detained in Bahrain during F1 debacle

Bahrain cracks down on news around Formula One races
23 April, 2012 – UN Refugee Agency

New York, April 23, 2012 – Bahraini authorities, intent on suppressing coverage of the restive political conditions that were a backdrop to the Formula One Grand Prix in Manama on Sunday, arrested at least seven international journalists who were seeking to report on anti-government demonstrations, according to news reports.

Police check journalist IDs outside the Formula One races on Sunday. Authorities have restricted and suppressed journalists in the run-up to the races. (AP/Hassan Ammar)Police check journalist IDs outside the Formula One races on Sunday. Authorities have restricted and suppressed journalists in the run-up to the races. (AP/Hassan Ammar)

“Bahraini authorities may have wanted to put a positive veneer on the Grand Prix, but their heavy-handed actions in shutting down international news coverage reflect a government determined to silence critical viewpoints,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Until government leaders halt their severe, ongoing crackdown on news coverage, their talk of reform cannot be taken seriously.”

At least seven international journalists have been detained in Bahrain for covering political unrest in the past five days. British broadcaster Channel 4 news reporter Jonathan Miller, cameraman Joe Sheffer, and producer Dave Fuller were arrested on Sunday while filming a demonstration in a Shiite suburb of Manama, news reports said. The news team had been denied journalist visas and were working without accreditation, the broadcaster reported. They were released after six hours of questioning and deported to the U.K. later that day, according to news reports. Miller wrote on his Twitter account that the authorities had confiscated their equipment and refused to return it. In an interview with Channel 4, Miller also said that their driver, Ali al-A’ali, had been beaten in front of the crew and taken into separate custody. Al-A’ali was later released, news reports said.

Colin Freeman, a correspondent for the London-based The Sunday Telegraph, and an unidentified Dutch reporter were also arrested on Sunday while filming a demonstration, The Telegraph reported. Mohammed Hassan, a stringer and fixer for international news outlets, and an unidentified driver were detained as well, reports said. The four were released after four hours in custody, the newspaper said. In addition, two unidentified Japanese journalists who worked for the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun were arrested in a village outside Manama for filming a demonstration, and were released two hours later, news reports said.

Hassan had been attacked and detained two days earlier. On Friday night, Bahraini riot police hit him with a stun grenade and beat and kicked him as he worked with journalists affiliated with British broadcaster ITN in the village of Al-Bilad al-Qadim, news reports said. Hassan was taken to a local hospital with extensive bleeding and bruising, local journalists said. He was released Saturday after being accused of attending an illegal gathering, his lawyer told CPJ. He was not charged, the lawyer said. …more

April 27, 2012   No Comments

Syria, Bahrain: A Tale of Two Uprisings… One Fabricated, the Other Forgotten

Syria, Bahrain: A Tale of Two Uprisings… One Fabricated, the Other Forgotten
by Finian Cunningham – Global Research – 19 March, 2012

The violent turmoil in Syria and Bahrain over the past year, taken together, provides a sharp comparative case study of the deception and hypocrisy of Western governments and the mainstream media.

It also points up the nefarious role of the pro-Western Arab states, in particular the Persian Gulf monarchies headed by Saudi Arabia.

Last week marked an exact anniversary for Syria and Bahrain. On the 15 March 2011, Syria saw the beginning of an armed insurgency described as “anti-government protests” in the Southern city of Daraa, on the border with Jordan. While the state forces of President Bashar Al Assad responded ruthlessly, from the outset it was clear that the anti-government “protesters” were heavily armed and well organised.

The events in Syria mirrored those in Libya, where opposition groups were also heavily armed and ready to use violence from the outset. In both Syria and Libya, the apparent protests were distinctly different from those seen in most other Arab countries, such as Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain, where there was a groundswell of popular opposition to the incumbent Western-backed regimes and where dissent was largely peaceful.

This key difference can be explained because Western powers and their proxies, such as Israel, Turkey and the Gulf Arab states, were instrumental in arming and directing the supposed anti-government opposition in both Syria and Libya.

Special forces from NATO powers Britain and France were, tellingly, active on the ground from the get-go, lending their expertise in techniques of sabotage and terrorism.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were also instrumental in driving events in Syria and Libya, providing financial support, weapons, covert fighters and strident diplomatic backing for the self-styled “transitional councils”. In the instance of Libya, NATO’s involvement was scaled up to a full-blown aerial bombing campaign to assist the so-called rebels on the ground. Such overt NATO aggression has not yet transpired in the case of Syria, but it is a contingency that Western governments are only shying away from for now out of political calculation.

To get back to Syria’s comparative twin in this case study, Bahrain, the Persian Gulf kingdom also saw an upsurge in violence on the 15 March 2011 – but for markedly different reasons. In the month prior to that date, Bahrain had witnessed a truly mass uprising against the Al Khalifa monarchy.

Peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Manama, drew crowds of up to 300,000 – nearly half the indigenous population of the tiny oil-rich kingdom. The protest movement against the US-backed autocratic Sunni rulers had set up a permanent peace camp near the financial district of the capital. After four weeks of peaceful rallies calling for the downfall of the monarchy, the Bahraini uprising was ruthlessly attacked by the combined state forces of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other members of the so-called Gulf Peninsula Shield Force which had crossed the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The military invasion to crush a civilian pro-democracy movement – one that was merely calling for an elected government to replace the decades-long dictatorship of the Al Khalifa dynasty – was given the green light by both Washington and London. . …more

March 22, 2012   No Comments

Bahrain Press reforms hailed – wins coveted Crooked Bough Horseshit Award

Bahrain Press reforms hailed
By Sandeep Singh Grewal – 29 February, 2012

BAHRAIN’S commitment to Press freedom is a stepping stone towards creating a hub for regional and international media. It follows Manama being named Capital of Arab Press for 2012 and the country hosting the fourth Arab Youth Media Forum for the first time.

The two-day pan-Arab eventwas attended by top Arab media figures, officials and diplomats, at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.

It is being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad and was opened yesterday in the presence of Supreme Council for Youth and Sport chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, ministers and media figures from the Arab world.

Shaikh Nasser expressed His Majesty’s dedication to making Bahrain a hub for the media and providing the right atmosphere for all creative professionals.

The forum has placed Bahrain on the world media map and the recognition is a “source of pride”, said Information Affairs Authority president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa during the opening ceremony.


Coveted Crooked Bough Horseshit Award

“Bahrain seeks to upgrade standards, organise and expand the horizons of freedoms of the media and attract leading media corporations to its Media City,” added Shaikh Fawaz.

The forum discussed issues in connection with media in the Arab world and its evolution, and it ends today.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera news anchor Tunisian Mohammed Krichen said it was the perfect time for Bahrain’s media to reflect arguments made by all sides of the community.

“This is a great honour for Bahrain to be the Arab Press Capital but the government and people should now be committed to Press freedom,” he told the GDN.

“It’s time the Bahrain Press reflected plurality of opinions that will boost its credibility and at the same time build trust and confidence.”

Mr Krichen was presented with the Best Arab TV Presenter award and he was among many figures who were honoured during the opening ceremony. …source

February 29, 2012   No Comments

Bahrain’s foreign minister has asked the British Government to Shut-up Critics

Bahrain remains a torture-permitting nation

Bahrain’s foreign minister has asked the British Government to get Denis MacShane to shut up about its human rights record. Here he explains why he will not be silent
by Denis MacShane – 25 February, 2012 – Tribune Magazine

I am used to endless lies and criticism from the British National Party and its favourite blogger, as well as the ­Islamist ideologues who hate my work on anti-Semitism, and the offshore-owned press obsessed about Europe. But this is the first time that a government, Bahrain, has written to the British Government asking the Foreign Secretary to shut me up.

In a 17-page open letter to William Hague, Bahrain foreign minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa accuses me of making several “demonstrably misconceived” statements about the political ­situation in Bahrain without visiting the country. It is true that I have not been to Bahrain recently, but I don’t need to go to Syria or Iran or North Korea to know there are serious human rights issues in those countries.

The latest news from Bahrain remains ever more worrying. There are regular pro-democracy demonstrations which are severely repressed by the police. In a new tactic, the police are raiding individual homes and throwing tear gas canisters inside. Amnesty International reports that as many as 30 people may have been killed as they choked to death in confined spaces.

Last month, 24-year-old Yousif al-Mawaly was arrested, tortured and then dumped in the sea. Photographs of his body seen by the BBC appear to show abrasions and bruises consistent with beating.

Human Rights Watch has reported that Bahraini riot police beat a prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, as he was leaving a peaceful protest last month. Rajab said that the police attacked him using their fists and batons at about 8.30pm, as he was walking toward his car. “I noticed a number of riot police behind me. They were all in uniform. They started beating me and I fell on the ground. I told them that I was Nabeel Rajab, hoping that they would stop, but they kept beating and kicking me.”

The interior ministry stated on its Twitter account that riot police had found Rajab “lying on the ground” and transported him to the Salmaniya Medical Complex for treatment.

The Bahraini government has refused to allow independent human rights ­observers from entering the kingdom, on the first anniversary of the Bahrain uprising a year ago. Members of the ruling Khalifeh family are trying to kid the international community that they are willing to move on human rights.

They attach great store to the Bassiouni Commission which reported last November on the widespread killing and torture after the democracy uprising that began a year ago. The 500-page report itself is valuable, but few if any of its recommendations have been implemented. Some low-ranking police officers have been suspended, including five Pakistani and two Yemeni police officers. But the men at the top of the royal family who authorised the brutal crackdown, and the senior officers who oversaw torture and killings, are still in place.

The Bahraini government is now hiring human rights lawyers or former police officers including Commander John Yates, who had to leave Scotland Yard in disgrace, to come to Bahrain to assure the world that all is well. But women doctors and nurses are still on trial after they were arrested in their hospitals treating the wounded last year.

Dr Fatima Haji, for example, was charged with acts of terrorism, stealing blood from hospital and harming the public by spreading false news. She was sentenced to five years in prison on these trumped up charges worthy of Stalin’s show trials.
[Read more →]

February 27, 2012   No Comments

Bahrain’s continuing brutality against Journalists

A year of repression: Bahrain continues crackdown on press
By Khalid Ibrahim – Committee to Protect Journalists – 13 February, 2012

In the year since peaceful protests began in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, the government has targeted the press corps with assault, detention, harassment, and torture to obstruct their coverage. My organization, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, has documented a systematic campaign by authorities to silence coverage of our country’s unrest. Here are just some of the many attacks on the press:

Bahraini newspapers are either guided or owned by the state except for Al-Wasat, whose staff members have come under severe attack because of the paper’s independence. Karim Fakhrawi, a founder of Al-Wasat, paid the ultimate price. He died in police custody in April 2011, just three days after imprisoned blogger Zakariya al-Ashiri also died in custody. Authorities have barred independent investigations into the deaths despite the fact that both journalists were healthy before being imprisoned just days earlier.

On November 8, a court in Manama found four Al-Wasat journalists guilty of publishing false news in March 2011. The journalists–Editor-in-Chief Mansoor al-Jamri, Managing Editor Walid Noueihed, Local News Director Aqeel Mirza, and Senior Editor Ali al-Sherify–were fined 1,000 dinars (US$2,650) each. Al-Jamri’s wife, journalist Reem Khalifa, has been targeted as well. On July 14, pro-government supporters assaulted Khalifa in a Manama hotel. I was there, and I have testified about the attack against her and how she faced her assailants with courage. But the politicized judiciary ignored her complaint and instead heard a complaint brought against her by government supporters who lodged allegations of defamation and assault. Authorities continue to pursue these false charges against Khalifa, who was the victim of the assault.

Police officers, by law, have a duty to protect citizens, but journalist Mazen Mahdi’s rights have repeatedly been violated. Security forces have beaten, humiliated, handcuffed, and blindfolded Mahdi, a contributor to Deutsche Presse Agentur, because of his coverage of demonstrations. These attacks were carried out in police stations and in the presence of other officers.

Reuters cameraman Hamad Mohammed Iqbal was injured twice while reporting on peaceful protests. On September 8, he suffered a neck injury when security forces attacked a crowd of demonstrators. On December 15, he was hit with tear gas while covering a demonstration. Nazeeha Saeed, a correspondent for France 24, was kicked, punched, and slapped after being arrested on May 22. Accused of lying in her coverage, Saeed was freed only after she was forced to sign a confession that she was not allowed to read. …more

February 22, 2012   No Comments

King Hamad works image with Human Rights complaince demands for the West while siliencing the press at home

A year of repression: Bahrain continues crackdown on press
By Khalid Ibrahim – Committee to Protect Journalists – 13 February, 2012

In the year since peaceful protests began in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, the government has targeted the press corps with assault, detention, harassment, and torture to obstruct their coverage. My organization, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, has documented a systematic campaign by authorities to silence coverage of our country’s unrest. Here are just some of the many attacks on the press:

Bahraini newspapers are either guided or owned by the state except for Al-Wasat, whose staff members have come under severe attack because of the paper’s independence. Karim Fakhrawi, a founder of Al-Wasat, paid the ultimate price. He died in police custody in April 2011, just three days after imprisoned blogger Zakariya al-Ashiri also died in custody. Authorities have barred independent investigations into the deaths despite the fact that both journalists were healthy before being imprisoned just days earlier.

On November 8, a court in Manama found four Al-Wasat journalists guilty of publishing false news in March 2011. The journalists–Editor-in-Chief Mansoor al-Jamri, Managing Editor Walid Noueihed, Local News Director Aqeel Mirza, and Senior Editor Ali al-Sherify–were fined 1,000 dinars (US$2,650) each. Al-Jamri’s wife, journalist Reem Khalifa, has been targeted as well. On July 14, pro-government supporters assaulted Khalifa in a Manama hotel. I was there, and I have testified about the attack against her and how she faced her assailants with courage. But the politicized judiciary ignored her complaint and instead heard a complaint brought against her by government supporters who lodged allegations of defamation and assault. Authorities continue to pursue these false charges against Khalifa, who was the victim of the assault.

Police officers, by law, have a duty to protect citizens, but journalist Mazen Mahdi’s rights have repeatedly been violated. Security forces have beaten, humiliated, handcuffed, and blindfolded Mahdi, a contributor to Deutsche Presse Agentur, because of his coverage of demonstrations. These attacks were carried out in police stations and in the presence of other officers. …more

February 13, 2012   No Comments

King Hamad organizes press blackout

Bahrain should grant entry to journalists
9 February, 2012 – Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, February 9, 2012–Bahrain has rejected at least six journalists’ applications for entry visas ahead of the anniversary of antigovernment protests that swept the country in February 2011, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to allow journalists into the country to carry out their work freely.

Several international journalists wrote on Twitter over the past two days that their visa applications had been denied. They were told the rejections are due to a “high volume of requests,” but that they are welcome to reapply after February. The journalists had wished to cover the February 14 protest anniversary.

Among the journalists who were denied visas are: The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof and Adam B. Ellick; Kristen Chick of the Christian Science Monitor; the BBC’s Cara Swift; Alex Delmar-Morgan of The Wall Street Journal; and Gregg Carlstrom from Al-Jazeera.

“Bahraini authorities act as if they have something to hide by engaging in this crude form of censorship,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator. “The government should immediately reverse its decision and allow international news media to observe and report on the anniversary.”

In 2011, local independent and foreign journalists in Bahrain endured the worst conditions since King Hamad bin Khalifa assumed the throne in 1999. CPJ has documented two journalist deaths in government custody, dozens of detentions, physical assaults, arbitrary deportations, and government-sponsored smearing of journalists, among other violations. …source

February 10, 2012   No Comments

Kingdom of Bahrain contines to refuse journalists entry to country

Bahrain refuses journalists seeking to cover protest anniversary
7 February, 2012 – LA Times – Emily Alpert

Bahrain has turned down several journalists for visas to visit the Persian Gulf nation on the one-year anniversary of sweeping antigovernment protests next Tuesday, telling them it has gotten too many requests.

The rejected journalists include New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who was detained in Bahrain while watching protests in December, along with correspondents for the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor and other outlets. Several took to Twitter, saying they received letters citing the “high volume of requests” as the reason for being turned down.

“This is the hallmark of a repressive regime — not allowing journalists into the country,” said Brian Dooley of the nonprofit Human Rights First. He was turned down for a visa in January. “The government is only fueling suspicions that they don’t want the rest of the world to see what’s going to happen.”

Bahrain, an island state near Saudi Arabia run by a Sunni Muslim monarchy, has been roiled by violent protests during the last year. Protesters have agitated for greater democracy, saying that Shiite Muslims are systematically discriminated against. The demonstrations kicked off Feb. 14, 2011.

Bahrain cracked down on the protests last year with help from Saudi forces. Human rights groups say dissenters were met with arrest and torture. Bahrain’s monarch created new military courts that sentenced more than 250 people to heavy punishments, including death, Human Rights Watch said.

Journalists were targeted too: Bahraini reporters have been arrested, and foreign journalists have been granted visas so limited — some as short as 48 hours — that their work is hampered, according to Reporters Without Borders. The group recently ranked Bahrain 173rd out of 179 countries in press freedom.

The king created an independent commission to investigate allegations of police brutality and other abuses. It found dozens of people were killed in the unrest, including five people who died from torture in police custody, along with many cases of excessive force and using the courts to squelch dissent.

Government loyalists say the monarchy is addressing its problems, and they allege that some protesters have exaggerated the crackdown and turned violent themselves, attacking police with firebombs and steel pipes. But human rights groups say the country is still pressing unfair cases that originated in military courts, and police are still carrying out brutal crackdowns on protesters.

The violence has put the United States in an awkward position. Bahrain has long been a U.S. ally, seen alongside Saudi Arabia as a bulwark against Iran. But if the U.S. tolerates the violence in Bahrain, it weakens its case against Syria, which has been embroiled in a bloody uprising for nearly a year.

“The international paralysis over Bahrain has, if anything, become more pronounced with the rising tensions over Iran’s nuclear program,” Toby Jones, an expert on Bahraini affairs at Rutgers University, told the Associated Press. “It’s every tough problem in the region funneled into one small place.” …more

February 9, 2012   No Comments

Press releases see new spin, Shiite Majority at odds with Western-Allied Rulers not Sunni Monarchy or Ruling al Khalifa Regime

U.S. envoy urges renewed Bahrain crisis talks
9 February, 2012 – AP

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The U.S. State Department’s top human rights envoy is urging Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy and Shiite-led opposition to resume talks aimed at ending yearlong unrest in the strategic Gulf nation.

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner also raised deep concerns Thursday about possible escalating violence before the uprising’s one-year anniversary next Tuesday.

Protesters are calling for major demonstrations. Bahraini authorities plan a massive deployment of security forces.

Posner made the remarks to reporters after meetings with Bahraini officials, opposition activists and others.

Bahrain’s majority Shiites are seeking to break the strong grip on power by the Western-allied rulers. Bahrain is host to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. …more

February 9, 2012   No Comments

Kingdom of Bahrain Media Black-out

February 4, 2012   No Comments

Bahrain regime maintains ‘choke hold’ on journalists and free press

Despite government’s promises, journalists continue to be harassed and attacked
7 January 2012. – Reporter without Borders

Reporters Without Borders deplores the way the Bahraini security forces continue to intimidate and attack journalists despite the undertakings that the government gave after an independent commission of enquiry released its report on the crackdown on anti-government protests during the first half of 2011.

The international community must not be taken in by the duplicity with which the government expresses a desire to punish those responsible for the abuses while continuing to crack down on dissent.

In one of the latest incidents, DPA photographer Mazen Mahdi was beaten by police in front of the police station in Samaheej, northeast of Manama, on 3 January, despite wearing a vest with the word “Press” on it.

He had gone to cover a protest by a crowd that had gathered outside the police station in response to a youth’s arrest, and was taking photos when the police charged the protesters at around 12:30 pm. Two of the policemen challenged him, although he was clearly identifiable as a journalist, and the officers he was arguing with failed to intervene when he was hit violently on the head. After being taken inside the police station, he was released 20 minutes later, but the police refused to register his complaint, he told Reporters Without Borders.

It was the fourth time Mahdi had been attacked or harassed by the police in the space of three weeks. …more

January 7, 2012   No Comments

al Khalifa Regime finishing off last of Free Press

Bahraini authorities shut websites, ban on blogs
15 November, 2011 – Shia Post

Bahraini authorities have closed social pages, sites and blogs of Bahrain and considering to close the website of al-Wefaq society. This troll attack on social activities on internet is against freedom of speech and expression.

As human rights abuses persist in Bahrain, human rights defenders on the ground there are forced to take their fight for political freedom to other mediums, including Twitter. They work in the shadows, but their message is resonating around the world and drawing attention to the Bahraini government’s abuses.

The Accord confirmed that the website and blogs have been closed after closing opposition newspapers in Bahrain. “The basic and natural right of a human is expression, view and a statement of his mind,” al-Wefaq website.

Nabeel Rajab is a prominent human rights defender in Bahrain. As President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, he is an outspoken, courageous critic of the regime that has brutally cracked down on democracy protests since February.

Since mid-February, thousands of anti-government protesters have been holding regular demonstrations in Bahrain, calling for the US-backed Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

On March 14, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded Bahrain to assist the ruling regime in its brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in the Persian Gulf Island, home to a huge military base of US Navy’s fifth fleet.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested by the regime. ….more

November 18, 2011   No Comments

al Khalifa regime sytematically silencing press – blocks air wave

Bahrain TV station struggles as signal blocked
By Simon Atkinson, BBC News

WATCH: It’s your cue: LuaLua TV is using technology to make sure that although the service is blocked in Bahrain, every effort is made to broadcast as widely as possible

Rim Abdolah delivers her news bulletin with admirable gusto for a woman who knows hardly any of the target audience is watching. The Lualua TV presenter has been with the station since its launch in July.
Aimed at people in Bahrain, it carries news and talk shows about the country.

But since its inception, it has only managed to reach to televisions in the Gulf kingdom for four hours – before the signal was blocked.

“As a broadcaster I’m very upset and frustrated because we try to work hard to put our work out to let everyone see it, especially in Bahrain,” Miss Abdolah says.

“But it’s very disappointing, no-one in Bahrain can see us.”

Reports from the satellite provider show the signal is being blocked from within Bahrain.
Screens Presenter Rim Abdolah is frustrated that the channel is blocked in Bahrain

While not officially blaming the country’s government, station management say it is hard to see who else would intervene.

Miss Abdolah’s pink headscarf stands out brightly against the blue backdrop of the news studio.

And while it was intended to run the channel from Bahrain’s capital Manama, it failed to get a licence there.

So instead, it operates thousands of miles from the Gulf, in a two-storey industrial unit on a drab north London estate – with cables running through the front door to a satellite dish in the car park.

The station was formed in the aftermath of pro-democracy protests earlier this year, which ended after Bahrain called in the Saudi military to crush the uprising. Bahrain protest The station was formed in the aftermath of pro-democracy protests in Bahrain

Several people were killed in clashes with security forces, while hundreds of people were detained including doctors, teachers and opposition leaders – many of whom allege they have been tortured and now face military trials.

Thousands of demonstrators had gathered for several days in the centre of Manama, inspired by the popular uprisings which toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

They demanded a greater say in government and an end to what the majority Shias said was systematic discrimination against them in jobs and services. …more

November 14, 2011   No Comments