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Reporters Without Borders Places Bahrain in Low Ranking for Freedom of Press

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) put Bahrain in the 168th rank in the list of 180 countries.

The annual report showed a one-rank decline in press freedom in Bahrain, dropping from a 169 ranking last year.

International and human rights organizations criticize the targeting of journalists and independent opinion-makers in Bahrain. Reports issued annually confirm that this targeting has turned into systematic and common behaviour by the Bahraini authorities.

The organizations call for the release of all detained journalists, the cessation of arbitrary prosecutions and arrests against them, and the opening of media and journalistic freedoms in the country.

“”Under the rule of the Al Khalifa family, which runs the country’scountry’s affairs with an iron fist, the name of the Kingdom of Bahrain has become linked to the number of journalists imprisoned, including photojournalists,”” the report said.

Fear of the overthrow of the regime in 2011 led to an increase in repression and censorship of critical voices in Bahrain, especially Shiite opposition uprisings in the country’s east.

Government’sGovernment’s critics are accused of charges of participating in demonstrations, sabotage, or supporting terrorism. Citizen journalists and journalists usually face prison sentences of up to life in some cases.

Other journalists are subjected to ill-treatment and deprived of their nationality, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The report added that local journalists working for international media have found it difficult to renew their accreditation since 2016.

Ten years after the start of the Arab Spring revolutions in Arab countries, that revolution, which demanded democratic reforms, only resulted in more government repression in Bahrain.

The Committee to Protect Journalists confirms that Bahrain has followed the path taken by Egypt concerning the countries that imprison the largest number of journalists in the world.

This is as punishment against journalists for documenting events of the nascent pro-democracy revolution in February 2011.

Over the past decade, authorities in Bahrain have used new and traditional means to silence independent coverage and individual target journalists.

The Bahraini authorities use the detention of journalists to prevent coverage of political issues and human rights violations and to silence dissenting voices.

The committee pointed out that there are six journalists detained in the regime’s prisons in a previous report.

Bahrain ranked fourth in the Middle East in terms of the number of imprisoned journalists.

The committee pointed to one of the cases that should be followed up in Bahrain, which is blogger Abdul Jalil Al-Singace.

In his writings, Al-Singace criticized human rights violations, sectarian discrimination, and the suppression of political opposition.

He was arrested in March 2011 and sentenced to life imprisonment for “conspiring to overthrow the monarchy”.

Most recently, Bahraini authorities denied Al-Singace medical treatment for his illness in prison.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the authorities’ use of new and vague censorship laws to impose restrictions on online media.

Website blocking is common in Bahrain. The authorities have blocked websites funded by Qatar as well.

According to the commission, the authorities do not always provide an explanation or give a warning before blocking websites.

Over the last decade, the government of Bahrain has increasingly resorted to accusations of spreading “false news” and laws related to anti-state and the practice of terrorism to limit free media and publications.

In the wake of the 2011 protests, the authorities doubled their efforts to monitor the activities of journalists and others, especially those who pose a potential threat to the ruling family.

Furthermore, the government of Bahrain has brought in surveillance experts from the United States to develop its surveillance infrastructure.

It also cooperated with allies and yesterday’s foes, such as Israel, to buy and sell surveillance technology.

Reporters Without Borders confirms that Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of seven journalists for covering popular events since 2011.


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