2022 Portfolios: Passing of Saeed Al-Hamad and Mohammed Al-Shurooqi, Prominent Media Figures Associated with Sectarian Incitement and Hate Speech

Saeed Al-Hamad
Saeed Al-Hamad

2023-12-10 - 5:21 p

Bahrain Mirror (2022 Portfolios): In the year 2022, two influential figures in the Bahraini authorities' media, known for their involvement in incitement, sectarian disdain, and attacking and demonizing the opposition, passed away.

On June 21, 2022, the death of Saeed Al-Hamad, the opinion page editor of Al-Ayam newspaper and a media figure within the authorities, was announced. His sudden death resulted from a heart crisis.

On October 27 of the same year, former broadcaster Mohammed Al-Shurooqi fainted in a café in Muharraq and passed away.

The lives of Al-Hamad, aged 74, and Al-Shurooqi, aged 52 came to an end.

Saeed Al-Hamad, born in Muharraq in 1948, worked as a radio announcer in Bahrain. In addition to his broadcasting role, he served as the opinion page editor for Al-Ayam newspaper since the 1990s, contributing a daily column titled "Dimensions."

Initially, Al-Hamad was merely a regular columnist, awaiting articles from fellow writers at Al-Ayam to reach him via fax or email. He would then deliver them to the editing and layout department, playing the role of a vigilant custodian of the set ceiling of freedom, imprinting his signature before returning home. Such was the routine of his journalistic career, devoid of any journalistic scoops, exceptional interviews, or meticulously crafted articles.

Following the entry of Gulf forces into Bahrain in March 2011 and their brutal suppression of the people demanding freedom and democracy, Al-Hamad launched an inflammatory program against the popular movement called "Open Dialogue with Saeed Al-Hamad." He received direct support from Fawaz Al Khalifa, the former Minister of Information, and Nabeel Al-Hamar, the King's media advisor and owner of Al-Ayam newspaper.

Through his program, Al-Hamad aired coerced confessions filmed within the corridors of the Ministry of Interior by student Ayat Al-Qarmazi. He attacked Dr. Ali Al-Akri, Dr. Ghassan Dhaif, and targeted Salman Al-Mahfouz, the head of the General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions, whose cousin was later killed after he was attacked on his program. He also incited against several writers and journalists who supported the democratic movement, such as Dr. Ali Al-Dairy, Adel Marzouq, Jawad Abdulwahab, Abbas Abu Safwan, in addition to inciting the closure of the independent newspaper, Al-Wasat, on multiple occasions.

In 2015, his aspirations were shattered when his erratic narratives about colleagues in the profession ended. This occurred when Bahrain entered an economic austerity plan, leading to the closure of "Al-Ittihad" channel, which used to broadcast his program from one of the Ministry of Information's rooms, returning him to his office at the headquarters of Al-Ayam newspaper.

In 2017, the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights monitored 229 media articles and messages that incited or assisted in inciting hatred against the Shiite sect in Bahrain through the media of Saeed Al-Hamad. This was based on the monitoring of his published articles in Al-Ayam newspaper or through his Twitter account. In 2018, Al-Hamad's share was 35 articles that incited hatred.

The story of Saeed Al-Hamad ended on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after his death was announced following a severe heart crisis.

As for Mohammed Al-Shurooqi, born in Muharraq in 1970, he worked as a radio broadcaster in Bahrain for many years. In the events of 2011, he engaged in social media activities. He also worked as a presenter on the sectarian channel "Safa," and made it a point to practice incitement and obscenity against the Shia, the opposition, and its activists. His actions escalated to inciting against a youth sector in the pro-government "National Unity Gathering," accusing them of attempting to overthrow the royal regime within a movement he called the "December 30 Movement."

Amid the dispute that erupted between the Royal Court Minister and the former Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman, following the attempt by the Court to prosecute Ibrahim Al-Dosary, an assistant to the Prime Minister, Mohammed Al-Shurooqi and others were arrested on charges of managing the "Na'eb Ta'eb" (Repentant MP) account. This account criticized the Prime Minister and some of his affiliates. Al-Shurooqi and his co-accused were released without being tried.

Al-Shurooqi engaged in battles in favor of the United Arab Emirates and became a tool for attacking Islamic movements. In 2016, he spoke against the Salafi ideology, leading to a lawsuit filed against him by Saudi lawyer Othman Al-Otaibi before Bahrain's courts. He also initiated a media campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain, constantly targeting them. A verdict was issued against him sentencing him to three months in prison over the former Brotherhood MP, Mohammed Khalid. However, he did not enter prison as he paid bail, suspending the execution of the ruling. In 2019, he was fined 2,000 dinars for insulting Mohammed Khalid.

Al-Shurooqi also participated in media campaigns against Qatar during the crisis that erupted between it and three Gulf countries, in addition to Egypt.


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