The Journalist Support Committee addresses the participants in the Human Rights Council: The Bahrain authorities stifle Media Freedoms.
The Journalist Support Committee stated that the Bahraini government is facing journalists and rights activists on charges related to freedom of opinion and expression.
The Bahraini security authorities summoned both journalists Faisal Hayat and Ahmed Radhi to the Public Prosecution, where they were charged with participating in an unauthorized march, Mr. Faisal in the town of Al-Maamir last July, while Mr. Ahmed in the old country on May 19, 2017. Both journalists denied the accusations.
These charges are not the first of their kind, on April 25th, 2017 the Public Prosecutor’s office issued a charge against the same journalists for participating in an unauthorized march in the city of Al-Diraz, the accusations were also denied by both journalists, as they did not enter the city in the first place.
The committee expresses its utmost concern for its fears that these charges were an initial step to issue a travel ban on journalists, reporters, and activists, as it has been done previously, as a pre-emptive campaign ahead of the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, were unfortunately realized. The committee received news that journalist, Ahmed Radhi, announced that after reviewing the Immigration and Passports Department he had been prevented from traveling by the government.
These statements come after the journalist, Nazeeha Said was forced to a pay a fine of 1000 dinars by issuing an arrest warrant. It is worth mentioning that the journalist had already applied for a renewal of her press license, and her lawyer has appealed the fine, but in vain. The Bahraini authorities neglected the appeal and issued an arrest warrant against the journalist in case a fine was not paid. In addition, the case of the suspension of Al-Wasat newspaper is still pending, where the relevant authorities still didn’t annul the decision of the Ministry of Information in preventing the publishing of Al-Wasat newspaper.
The Journalist Support Committee stressed that the repeated scenario of summoning and fabrication of charges against Bahraini journalists and media outlets by the Government, restricting the movement of journalists and media by preventing them from traveling and preventing the media from working freely is an explicit forfeiture of freedom of opinion and expression. The committee calls on the Human Rights Council to exert effective pressure to put an end to the violations practiced by the Bahraini authorities against journalists and freedom of opinion and expression.
Journalist Support Committee
15 September 2017