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HRW Calls for Loud Stances to Support Journalist Nazeeha Saeed

2016-07-25 - 8:07 p

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch (HRW) called upon all supporters of freedom of press to speak out, loud and clear, to support Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed, who was banned from traveling, and was recently accused of violating the law of journalists' license in Bahrain.

The human rights watchdog said in a statement on Sunday July 24, 2011, that the Bahraini authorities accused Saeed of working for foreign media without a license. It noted that Saeed is one of the 23 individuals who were subjected to a travel ban, including lawyers, human rights activists, union leaders and representatives of teachers, nurses, in addition to the head of Transparency International in Bahrain.

The organization's Deputy Director for the Middle East, Joe Stork, said that, "Bahrain incriminates everyone who criticizes the increasing repressive policies of the government. Any government that claims to support freedom of the press has to speak loudly and clearly to support Nazeeha Saeed."

Saeed told HRW that she "was not able to appeal the ban [on traveling] because she could not know the reason behind it, or what ministry imposed it, which makes it an arbitrary ban."

HRW also revealed a letter it obtained, sent from the Ministry of Media Affairs, to Nazeeha Saeed's employers, on June 16, 2016. The letter highlighted the (allegedly) "unsatisfactory evaluation of her performance by our specialists", as a reason for non-renewing her practice license. Another journalist, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, also told HRW that the Ministry of Media Affairs refused to renew the licenses of two other journalists in 2016, who worked for foreign media outlets.

In reference to the travel ban imposed on her, Nazeeha Saeed stressed that the officials did not give her any reasons for this ban, or told her who imposed it and on what basis. She tried later that day to leave the country through the bridge connecting Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, but officials at the Interior Ministry addressed her with the same ban. During the days that followed, officials from the Criminal Investigation Department told her that there were no open lawsuits against her.

"Other Bahraini face a similar arbitrary ban on traveling since the beginning of June, among which are human rights lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer, human rights activist Abdul Nabi al-Akri, former deputy head of dissolved "Bahraini Teachers Association" Jalila al-Salman, nurse and rights activist Roula al-Saffar, and head of Transparency International in Bahrain, Mohammad Sharaf," HRW further stated.

"Repressive tendency in Bahrain clearly highlights why governments should not have a role in determining who has the right to practice journalism," said HRW's Joe Stork in reference to all the aforementioned.

Arabic Version    


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