Bahrain: Bahrain: Country’s only independent newspaper, “Al-Wasat”, suspended until further notice
On 04 June 2017, Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA) suspended “Al-Wasat” newspaper until further notice, for allegedly violating the law and repeating the publication of and broadcasting news that stirs up the community and affects the relations of the Kingdom of Bahrain with other countries. The suspension relates to an article published on 04 June 2017, which was accused of “abuse of one of the Arab countries."
The newspaper reports on various issues including on protests and human rights events and is known for its balanced journalism. Its suspension is a flagrant violation of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The IAA, which has the authority of a Ministry, previously suspended “Al-Wasat” on 06 August 2015 for five days until the authorities forced the newspaper to sign a declaration. See: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1063
Authorities have previously targeted Al-Wasat in an attempt to curtail freedom of the press, including by bringing defamation cases against Editor in Chief Mansoor Al-Jamri, in 2014 and 2015. It had also been briefly suspended in 2011 and three of its editors were put on trial and forced to leave their jobs at the newspaper.
GCHR urges the authorities in Bahrain to:
- Immediately and unconditionally remove the suspension against “Al-Wasat”; and
- Ensure that journalists, media workers and all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.