IFJ Concerned over New Media Crisis in Bahrain

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the escalation of violence against media in Bahrain after photographer Mohammed Almoukhraq was assaulted by security forces while covering anti-government protests in the capital, Manama on Sunday. Last night, the Al-Wasat newspaper headquarters were also attacked.

"These incidents illustrate a crisis for media and democracy in Bahrain," said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. "The government must give guarantees that journalists will be able to operate freely and safely despite the Declaration of a State of Emergency."

According to Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA), an IFJ affiliate, photographer Almoukhraq was set upon on Sunday by security forces and plainclothes officers who beat him up and broke his camera and mobile phone.

In a separate incident, the headquarters of the Al-Wasat newspaper in Manama came under attack last night by unknown assailants.

The BJA condemned the assault on Almoukhraq and the attack on offices of Al -Wasat newspaper and demanded a thorough investigation into these incidents to hold perpetrators accountable. In a statement, the BJA leadership called on "all stakeholders to allow the press to perform its mission."

The IFJ backs the BJA demands and says the Government of Bahrain has the primary responsibility to protect journalists who are covering an increasingly violent situation.

"We call on the authorities to order security forces to stop attacking journalists and to protect all media professionals from violent groups," added Boumelha. "Journalists must not be targeted and media must not be made scapegoats for this political crisis."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries