BBC: Ofcom Fines Al Arabiya News Channel for Serious Infringement of Bahraini Dissident’s Privacy
2018-01-27 - 10:31 p
Bahrain Mirror: The British communications regulator, Ofcom, has fined Al Arabiya News Channel £120,000 after the channel violated the privacy of a prominent Bahraini national, Hassan Mushaima, reported BBC Arabic.
Ofcom found that the channel breached its rules covering broadcasting standards on fairness and privacy.
A programme broadcast on Al Arabiya News on February 27 2016 claimed that Mushaima was involved in an attempt made in February and March 2011 by a number of people to change the governing regime in Bahrain. The programme included an interview with Mr Mushaima, filmed while he was in prison awaiting a retrial.
The programme presenter accused Mushaima of being part of a cell accused of trying to overthrow the regime, but Mushaima later confirmed that the interview was recorded as part of confessions he was forced to make under torture.
The Ofcom statement noted that the interview shows Mushaima making confessions about his participation in certain activities; however, three months prior to the date on which Al Arabiya News said the footage was filmed, an official Bahraini Commission of Inquiry had found that similar confessions had been obtained from individuals, including Mr Mushaima, under torture.
Ofcom added that during Mr Mashaima's subsequent retrial and appeal, he maintained that his conviction should be overturned, as confessions had been obtained from him under torture.
An Ofcom spokeswoman told BBC Arabic that Al Arabiya is subject to its editorial standards and rules since it has a license to broadcast the channel via satellites in Europe.
The UK regulator's decision came after a complaint filed by Mr Husain Abdulla to Ofcom on behalf of Mr Hassan Mashaima about unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy in connection with the obtaining of material included in the programme and the programme as broadcast on Al Arabiya News on 27 February 2016.
Mushaima is considered one of the leaders of the protest movement that erupted in Bahrain led by Shiite opposition movements on 14 February 2011.
He heads Haq Movement and is one of the founders of the Al-Wefaq opposition society.
Bahraini authorities arrested in 2011 five people, whom they accused of planning attacks in the country with Iranian support.
The prosecution accused Mushaima and Abdul Raouf Al-Shayeb, who reside abroad, of "establishing this group in coordination with the accused for the purpose of committing terrorist operations inside Bahrain, targeting the Ministry of Interior building, the Saudi embassy in Manama and the King Fahd Causeway between the two countries," according to the Bahrain News Agency (BNA).
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