Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Around 7,602 media items were the outcome of the hate speech and hate-provoking messages targeted at human rights defenders, political activists, Bahraini citizens and international human rights institutions in 2018.
These inflammatory items were published as follows: 1,390 articles in state and pro-government press, and 6,212 posts via social networking sites, a number which exceeds what was observed in 2017; as the hate material amounted to 6,600.
The items that incited hatred in the pro-government press were as follows: 272 articles in Bahrain's Al-Ayyam newspaper, 442 articles in Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper, 205 articles in Al-Bilad newspaper, and 467 articles in Al-Watan newspaper.
Hate material was monitored through 643 electronic accounts: 90% of them were being tweeted from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A total of 122 accounts have been deleted coinciding with Twitter's announcement of a campaign to remove accounts that are automated and believed to be "bots" involved with hate speech. That wasn't the case of the @dredossary account, which was shut down by the Assistant Undersecretary for Information and Follow-up at the Office of Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Dosari, following the well-known case raised over the Na'eb Ta'eb (@Emp_Bahrain) account.
During June, 182 hate speech items were detected due to the trial of Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of the National Islamic Al-Wefaq Society, 59 hate pieces against High Commissioner Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein for his criticism of the human rights situation in Bahrain and 61 articles of hatred over the fact that the municipality of Paris granted honorary citizenship to President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab.
During April, 115 hate media items were monitored against four of the country's top Shiite clerics, including Sayed Abdullah AlGhoraifi; 34 of them were published in the four official state newspapers, 81 published via social media sites. The total number of published hate materials was 105 after the statement issued by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Fareed Meftah, against the statement issued by the four clerics.
During the first six months of 2018, 265 hate materials were recorded against the leader of the Shiite community in Bahrain, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, distributed as follows: 245 hate materials on social media sites, and 20 hate materials published in the four official state newspapers.
The Bahraini Information Ministry advisor, Sawsan Al-Shaer, published 40 hate pieces. Her article, published on April 22, titled "Tired of Bahrain," about a popular hymn recited by a citizen in a religious atmosphere, led to the arrest of that citizen from his place of work and the Public Prosecution decided to detain him for 15 days pending investigation.
Journalist Fareed Hasan published 119 hate articles during the year, the highest percentage among journalists. The most of which was published in the following months: January (12 articles), February (12 articles), April (12 articles), June (11 articles), November (12 articles). Among the articles he wrote inciting hatred against human rights organizations and activists, a piece was published on April 23, 2018, entitled "The Untamed Testimony", in which he boasts about his dissemination of hate speech. "Those who adopted the language of hatred are in fact the ones who sold the homeland and chose to sit on the lap of the Iranian regime, which only takes them to backwardness," he said.
With the ongoing malicious trial of Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman, journalist Osama Al-Majid published on April 27, 2018 an article entitled "They Occupied First Class Seats of Treason", in which he said: "Pure Bahrain does not accept disloyal traitors, who resort to the double-agent rights groups". He also published an article entitled "You are the biggest fraud known to mankind" (May 23, 2018) calling for purging society of activists from dissolved societies. "Just as your political societies had to fall, society also has to be purged of you."
In addition, 64 articles were published by journalist Faisal Al-Sheikh including incitement of hatred, reaching its highest point in February (12 articles). Seven articles were published in the following months: April, May and June. The vocabulary he used to incite hatred included "coup d'etat, agent, traitor". In an article entitled "When traitors deceive you to think that their hearts are concerned with the homeland" (August 6, 2018), he said: "It seems that yesterday's villains, the agents of foreigners and the perpetrators of successive coup operations against Bahrain are replaying their worn out records [...] Do you want us today to believe the traitors of their own country, who sold their Arab identity and belonging to the Gulf and became loyal to the Iranian regime [...] Be aware of crocodiles when they changed their skins and beware of those who dropped their masks immediately. "
One of the most famous names regarding the publication of hate speech. He published 35 articles in Bahrain's Al-Ayyam newspaper, not to mention his social media posts containing inflammatory material. His tweets would trigger the interaction of anonymous or automated accounts from Saudi Arabia or UAE, which would comment on his tweets with more hate speech against Shiite Muslims in Bahrain.
713 other media items that incite against hatred or helps inciting hatred or discrimination against Shiite Muslims were also recorded, coinciding with the Ashura commemoration and the assaults on Ashura manifestations by members of the security services.
It is shown, through monitoring of the publications of the four official state newspapers in conjunction with the elections in Bahrain, that hate speech against the opponents of the electoral process continued. 281 media items and messages inciting or help the incitement of hatred against human rights defenders, political activists and Bahraini citizens were distributed as follows: 81 media items in the official press: Al-Ayyam, Al-Khaleej, Al-Bilad and Al-Watan newspapers as well as 200 materials via social media sites. The following journalists also continued disseminating hate speech, having no concern of being held accountable: Faisal Al-Sheikh, Fareed Hassan, Mona Mutawa, Saeed Al-Hamad, Sawsan Al-Shaer.
The following is a list of accounts that have been deactivated or suspended by Twitter in 2018, which were automated accounts spreading hate speech:
*Published in cooperation with Bahrain Center for Human Rights