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Bahrain King on RSF New List of Press Freedom Predators

2016-11-05 - 2:50 am

 Bahrain Mirror: A news list was published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) under the title "Press Freedom Predators", which included Bahrain King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa. RSF confirmed that journalists in Bahrain are subjected to all kinds of assaults since Hamed took power in 1999.

RSF issued the list (on November 2, 2016) that includes a "grim portrait gallery of 35 presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, torture or murder journalists."

The organization said in its report that "Reporters and photographers are often accused of participating in protests, acts of vandalism or supporting terrorism, journalists have been sentenced to long jail terms or even life imprisonment."

"Well known human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has been in prison since April 2015 in connection with two tweets, one of them about torture in Jaw prison, RSF went on to say.

Moreover, the RSF report said noted the withdrawal of Bahraini citizenship is another arbitrary method often used by the regime to intimidate journalists.


In addition, the organization said "at least 12 journalists and citizen-journalists in prison, while a blogger was sentenced to life imprisonment on 4 September 2012."

RSF dubbed the King's statement on World Press Freedom Day, 2 May 2012 "blatant lies", when he said, "We fully and constantly support the rights of journalists, writers and media people and the organizations that carry out their noble mission without any threat or mistreatment. We do not tolerate, nor will we tolerate in the future, during our reign, any insult, arrest or detention of journalists who have used their legal and constitutional right to free speech."

"Most of these press freedom predators have been preying on the media for years, some for decades," the report indicated.

To draw attention to the impunity they enjoy, RSF has filled out a hunting permit for each of these predators. It identifies their favorite attack techniques, their enforcers, their favorite targets, their official discourse ­- blatant threats by some, complete denial by others - and their kill tally, which in some cases is only too real. Each permit also gives the ranking of the predator's country in RSF's World Press Freedom Index, which is usually very low.

Their predatory techniques vary. Some use enforcers to torture and murder. Some use mass arrests and arbitrary imprisonment. Others employ more sophisticated methods such as terrorism laws, lèse-majesté charges or financial asphyxiation. The list is not exhaustive, naming only those who have distinguished themselves the most in the past year, the report indicated.

On this level, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said, "These predators are the ones who most trample on media freedom and commit the worst atrocities against journalists without being held to account." "The way to break the vicious cycle of impunity is to appoint a United Nations special representative for protecting journalists," he went on to say.


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