Tag Archives: bahrain

Reporters Without Borders: Life sentence for Bahraini blogger

A Bahraini blogger has been handed a life sentence, another has received 15 years in prison, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The two were among 21 activists to be accused of belonging to terrorist organisations and trying to overthrow the government, the pressure group says on its site.

Blogger Abduljalil Al-Singace was handed a life sentence; Ali Abdulemam, who was tried in absentia, was given 15 years, Global Voices, an international bloggers network Abdulemam contributes to, also reports on the sentencing.

“The only crime committed by Abdulemam and Al-Singace was freely expressing opinions contrary to those of the government,” Reporters Without Borders said in its post. “These sentences, handed down at the end of trial that flouted defence rights, are typical of the intransigence that the authorities have been showing towards those identified as government opponents, who have borne the full brunt of their repression. The international community must call the government to account on its strategy of stifling all dissent.”

Singace was rearrested on 16 March after being held from September to February. He was previously arrested in 2009 for allegedly trying to destabilise the government because of articles posted on his blog.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Abdulemam is regarded as one of Bahrain’s internet pioneers and is an active member of Bahrain Online, a pro-democracy forum that gets more than 100,000 visitors a day despite being blocked within Bahrain. He was also detained from September to February but avoided being rearrested and has been in hiding for several months.

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Guardian: David Banks on Bahrain’s attempt to sue the Independent

I spoke to media law consultant David Banks this morning for this article about Bahrain’s announcement that it intends to sue the Independent for defamation.

He explained that under case law in the UK local and national governments can’t sue for defamation, as outlined in Derbyshire County Council vs The Times, 1993. He went on to say that one way to circumvent the Derbyshire judgement would be for an individual Bahraini minister to take legal action against the newspaper, but added that the minister would have to prove personal defamation and would likely be up against a robust defence from the Independent. See more on the story in my report.

This afternoon, Banks expands on these legal issues for the Guardian, adding “a note of caution” regarding the Derbyshire judgement:

The judgment refers to the “democratically elected” local and central government of the UK. It does not expressly include the unelected governments of other countries. Whether the high court would take a different view of the unelected government of Bahrain as a claimant than it would a local authority here is not set out.

It would set a curious precedent, though, for the courts here to say that our own elected governments should expect robust media criticism, but unelected dictators and despots can rely on the full protection of our libel laws.

Full the post on Guardian.co.uk at this link.

International media centre set up in Bahrain to aid protest coverage

An international media centre has been set up today at the Information Affairs Authority in Bahrain, to help journalists cover the protests within the country.

It is understood that facilities at the media centre will include access to interview areas, journalist work stations with high speed wireless internet access, digital storage and a press conference room, to be attended by members of the government and official spokesmen. Journalists must register to attend the media centre by emailing the following details to elloydowen [at] bell-pottinger.co.uk.

  • Name
  • Organisation
  • Photo
  • Passport details
  • Email address
  • Contact number

Journalism.co.uk reported last week that the Committee to Protect Journalists was claiming that journalists attempting to cover the protest action were facing escalating attacks and restrictions in Bahrain, with a BBC producer being held for 15 hours at Bahrain International Airport, before being let into the country without any equipment.

Committee to Protect Journalists: Bahrain government freezes Al Jazeera operations ‘indefinitely’

The Bahraini government has ‘indefinitely’ suspended Al Jazeera’s English and Arabic channels from reporting in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports.

On Tuesday, Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture and Information decided to “temporarily freeze the activities of the Bahrain bureau of the Qatari satellite news channel Al Jazeera for having violated professional norms and for failing to observe laws and procedures regulating journalism, printing and publishing,” according to the official Bahrain News Agency.

The ministry’s decision comes just one day after Al Jazeera aired a program about poverty in Bahrain.

Al Jazeera was previously banned from 2002-7.

Full post at this link…

Calling journalists to blog on International Women’s Day (Monday 8 March)

On Monday 8 March, it’s International Women’s Day, a global day “celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future,” partnered by Thomson Reuters.

To mark the occasion, Sky News is having a day of female-led broadcasting. The broadcaster announced:
“From sunrise to midnight, the news channel will be presented and produced exclusively by women in support of the globally renowned day, which honours the economic, political and social achievements of women with hundreds of events around the world.”

Reuters will be liveblogging here: http://live.reuters.com/Event/International_Womens_Day_2010_2

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on media owners “to take steps to raise women’s profile in the news, both as professionals and as news topics,” ahead of its survey to be released in Bahrain on Monday.

“The situation is deplorable,” said Aidan White, IFJ general secretary. “Media organisations remain dominated by men the world over. Women must be given equal access to leadership. When that happens it will create a sea change in the news agenda and the way media professionals are treated.”

Here at Journalism.co.uk (where the editorial staff is predominantly female anyway), we thought it might be fun to host some themed comment on our blog. If you (male or female!) have a relevant post you’re burning to write, please let us know and we can publish it here – or link to your site/blog. Please contact judith [at] journalism.co.uk or leave a comment below.

  • Which parts of the industry are particularly male-dominated? Does it matter?
  • Has online technology helped balance the gender-split?
  • What would you like to see change within the industry?
  • What are your observations of male-female divide in the workplace?

RSF: Two journalists charged in Bahrain; information ministry steps up internet filtering

“Reporters Without Borders is concerned about freedom of expression in Bahrain. In the past couple of months, two journalists have been charged because of what they wrote and the information ministry has stepped up Internet filtering,” the organisation reports.

“Around 600 websites are currently blocked in Bahrain and online censorship has become more extensive since 21 April, when the authorities ordered that access to the Washington-based news website Aafaq.org, Ghada Jamsheer’s women’s rights blog Bahrain-eve and the blog aggregator Bahrainblogs.org should also be blocked.”

Full story at this link…