The Bahrain Center for Human Rights releases today a report for World Press Freedom Day, Saturday, 03 May 2014, out of serious concern for degenerating freedom of expression and opinion afforded to members of the media. The government of Bahrain has continued to target local independent journalists and photographers with arrest and detention in order to obscure any evidence of the ongoing human rights violations. The BCHR has documented at least twelve cases of imprisoned journalists — a majority of whom are photographers — and at least seven reported cases of torture in the last year.
The report accounts in detail the arrests and subsequent ill treatment of several prominent journalists, photographers, and bloggers including Ahmed Humaidan, Ahmed Al-Fardan, and Mohammed Hasan. The government continues to specifically target photojournalists who cover protests and opposition gatherings. They are being directly targeted with tear gas and shotgun pellets.
Video recorded in April 2014.
The BCHR expresses concern that journalists, photographers, and bloggers are not only specifically targeted with force by Bahraini authorities, but that national law also criminalizes free speech. Activists and members of the media are commonly charged with insulting the King and insulting a government entity. The government has gone as far as to persecute members of the media under the Terrorism Law, which was recently modified so it may be interpreted to include the work of journalists and human rights defenders. The BCHR has also documented several cases in which articles and photographs were banned for publication and foreign journalists were denied entry visas to Bahrain.
The BCHR strongly believes that progressive democratic discourse is only achieved if the government and the opposition have an equal opportunity to freedom of expression and opinion without fear of retribution.
Link to the full report: