Human Rights Watch: Al-Wasat’s Suspension Violates Right to Freedom of Expression

2017-06-19 - 12:29 am

Bahrain Mirror: Bahraini authorities on June 4, 2017, ordered the immediate indefinite suspension of Al Wasat, the country's only independent newspaper, said Human Rights Watch, adding that "Al Wasat is one of the very few independent news sites in the entire Gulf region."

HRW noted that an Information Ministry statement on the government news agency site said Al Wasat had violated the law and would not be published "until further notice." The statement added that Al Wasat had "created discord and damaged Bahrain's relations with other countries." It cited a June 4 opinion article about a rural uprising in al-Hoceima, in northern Morocco, which said that the protesters had legitimate demands.

"A newspaper in Bahrain should be able to comment on and criticize the authorities in Morocco or anywhere in the world," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Shutting down Al Wasat is a prime example of Bahraini authorities' complete intolerance of any kind of independent expression."

The HR group further stated that Bahrain's suspension of Al Wasat came days after the government dissolved the leading secular opposition society, the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), on May 31, 2017.

Human Rights Watch stressed that Al Wasat's suspension is a violation of the right to freedom of expression and an attack on media freedom. It also appears to violate article 28 of Bahrain's 2002 press law - Decree No. 47 for 2002 - which states that a court order is required to close or suspend a newspaper, it added.

Arabic Version


المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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