Assaults against journalists Naziha Said

2017-04-21 03:07


The Journalist Support Committee issued the following statement:

Naziha Said, a journalist from Bahrain, writes in the fields of politics, economy, art and social issues. She works in the written press, on television, radio and also on the internet. She holds a “Johan Philip Prize for freedom of expression and of press” for the year 2014. In the year 2015, "Reporters Without Borders” renamed a Parisian street in her name, as part of a campaign to rename 12 Streets in the French capital under the names of journalists who have been killed and tortured. And on the occasion of "The International day to end impunity for crimes committed against journalists", the organization has chosen to launch the journalist Said’s name on the street where the Embassy of Bahrain is located.

The journalist Naziha was exposed to several assaults. First off, her arrest on the basis of media coverage of the demonstrations erupted on February 11, 2011, in the Pearl Roundabout. During her arrest, she was brutally tortured for 13 hours straight, in Al-Riffaa police station, forcing her to receive medical treatment in France, while the police aggressor has been acquitted of the crime, which reflects the persistence of the impunity policy exercised by the Bahraini government. Ms. Naziha is still struggling for over five years now, before the court in order to obtain compensation for damages caused as a result of her torture.

And recently, in a second violation to freedom of the press, dated 29 June, Ms. Said was prevented from traveling from Bahrain international airport, only to find that the authorities imposed a ban on her travels. Ms. Said checked with more than an official body and was notified that she was not precluded from traveling. Ms. Said, later on, tried to travel across the king Fahd causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, she was prevented from crossing three times, despite the confirmations of official bodies that she “Was not banned from traveling” and denials from the passport authority, ministry of interior and national security of issuing a ban on her travel.

As for the latest developments on Ms. Said’s case, the board of information filed a complaint against Ms. Said to the ministry of interior, for “impersonating the status of a journalist correspondent to the foreign media, without obtaining official accreditation from the ministry”. And on July 17, the public prosecutor summoned Mr. Naziha and questioned her, on charges of “working without a license”. The authorities’ courts scheduled the 28 of February 2017 to look into the case filed against Ms. Said by the ministry of information, on charges of practicing journalism without a license.

Ms. Naziha was a freelancer in “Radio Monte Carlo” for 12 years, and her cooperation permit with the radio station ended 2 months ago, and when she applied to renew her permit with the competent authorities, she waited for 2 months and didn’t receive a renewal. And in case the court convicted Ms. Said of “impersonating the status of a journalist”, she will be fined. Such conviction will serve as a motive from the Bahraini authorities to prevent Ms. Said from practicing journalism in the country for life, for overstepping the established procedures of the press laws on its territory.

Accordingly, the Journalist Support Committee condemns these repeated assaults against journalists and media outlets in Bahrain by the Bahraini authorities, from killing, torture, prevention from traveling, arbitrary detention, harassment, violations of serious human rights, press freedom and freedom of opinion and expression, most recently preventing Ms. Naziha Said from exercising her journalistic work, demanding the international community and human rights organizations to take necessary measures to put an end and condemn these violations against the media and press freedom in Bahrain, and to exercise pressure on the Bahraini government to stop its constraints on the media and to take serious measures to bring the perpetrators to a fair trial.