2017: Bahrain without Independent Newspaper after Al-Wasat Suspension

2018-01-08 - 4:55 ص

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: The Bahraini authorities decided to silence the last independent media voice through its decision to suspend the opposition-linked Al-Wasat newspaper, as part of the most aggressive campaign against the opposition since 2011.

2017 witnessed a temporal suspension for Al-Wasat online version on (January 16, 2017) after publishing photos of 3 young men executed by gunshots (Abbas Al-Samie, Ali Al-Singace and Sami Mushaima), contrary to the instructions directed to licensed newspapers in the country.

However, the newspaper resumed on (January 19, 2017) its online edition, after the US State Department criticized the decision. Nonetheless, the newspaper resumed its activity for a few days only after a planned decision to totally suspend it on (June 4, 2017).

Al-Wasat suspension was accompanied by a security campaign that led to forcibly dispersing the Diraz protest. The same period witnessed the return of National Security Apparatus (state security previously) to its openly practices task to arrest, torture, and fabricate cases against activists and dissidents.

Despite promising to comment on Al-Wasat suspension case, US State Department didn't tackle the issue in any of its press conferences. Meanwhile, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth office Alistair Burt said that his country is closely monitoring the suspension of Al-Wasat newspaper. This came one month following its suspension by a government decision.

On June 18, local Bahraini Al-Ayyam newspaper, owned by the King's media advisor Nabeel Al-Hamar, said that the Bahraini Ministry of Information filed a criminal complaint against Al-Wasat newspaper. On June 26, Al-Wasat decided to sack its employees and kept its commercial record hoping that the newspaper would resume work at any time.

Incitement against Al-Wasat hasn't stopped since 2011 protests. The newspaper, its editor-in-chief Mansour Al-Jamri and staff were targeted by the security forces and pro-government tweeters.

The Series of Targeting Events:

Al-Wasat newspaper was forcibly suspended on April 3, 2011 as the army took the reins in the country and resumed one day later following a settlement to exile its editor-in-chief and administrative staff after accusing it of disseminating false news. On August 6, 2015, the newspapers was suspended for 2 days based on a decision from the Ministry of Information Affairs over "violation of the law and repeatedly publishing what sows division in the society and affects Bahrain's relations with other states."

At the onset of 2017, the online version of Al-Wasat was stopped for 3 days (16-19 January, 2017). Meanwhile, the online and printed versions were suspended on June 4. Between the first and last suspension, Al-Wasat staff was not spared of targeting. However, despite its closure, it was nominated by Reporters without Borders among 18 nominees for the 2017 Press Freedom Prize.


Arabic Version



التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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