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Free press dwindles ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections

The Bahrain Press Association highlighted the miserable situation of the local press in Bahrain ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for November 12.

The association said in a report that the miserable situation of the local press in Bahrain reflects the nature and level of press freedoms stifled in the country.

This election comes at a critical time for the legislative system that passed laws against people’s will, such as the retirement law and the rise of the value-added tax from 5% to 10%.

Against the background of the political crisis in the country, questions about the feasibility of participating in the elections return to the fore, especially since most of the applicants for candidacy are not from political backgrounds.

This made the debate around participation and boycott occur in the social and electronic space. Still, as usual, it is an argument utterly absent from the local press.

The state and its media institutions issued motivational calls to participate. In contrast, the opposition called for a boycott of the elections, in addition to forfeiting the right of thousands of citizens to vote after losing their right to run under the Political Isolation Law, which represents a real crisis in the country as it confiscates the right to political participation from thousands of Bahrainis.

Sheikh Isa Qassem, the Shiite cleric and opponent, exiled in Iran, and the National Islamic Al-Wefaq Society, the opposition banned from working in Bahrain, called for boycotting the elections. Al-Wefaq called it “the worst electoral process known in history.

The local press in Bahrain dealt with the aspect of participation and mobilized it. The newspapers and the only television channel affiliated with the authority distributed their correspondents to the supervisory centres for the elections from the first day of its inauguration.

On the other hand, the local press completely ignored any voice of the opposition and did not transmit any statement, statement, or comment referring to the boycott.

While Representative Mamdouh Al-Saleh revealed that about 400 citizens at least were not included in the voter list,” referring to the deletion of the names of thousands of citizens from the voter register as a punishment for their non-participation in the previous elections, according to a procedure carried out by the organizing committee to increase the participation rate, which was not directly mentioned by any of the media.

At a time when the citizens questioned the achievements of the House of Representatives or its ability to stand by its issues, local media published a statement to the House of Representatives, whose mandate had expired, to highlight its “achievements” in addition to 47 decrees of law.

It approved 63 law proposals, submitted 539 proposals of desire, and asked 330 parliamentary questions to ministers and members of the government and did not question any minister, figures that the local press celebrated without criticism.

Most programs focus on services rather than legislation, from providing jobs to housing services and even future project owners.

However, these discussions are absent from the local press, which only sings of calls to intensify the participation of candidates, the High Elections Committee, or the rest of the official state institutions.

This miserable state of the local press in Bahrain reveals the nature and level of press freedoms stifled in the country.

It certainly foretells the nature of dealing with political files in the elections, which will witness a boycott of a large segment of Bahrainis, either through the political isolation law that perpetuates sectarian discrimination in Bahrain or as a natural result of a state of loss of confidence in the entire political process and its outcomes.

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