Bahrain: Ban on journalist should be lifted

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the Bahraini authorities to renew the accreditation of a journalist unfairly banned from working as a foreign correspondent in the country. Nazeeha Saeed who worked for Radio Monte Carlo and also for France 24 has been accused of violating registration laws and has been refused permission to work as a foreign correspondent and had a travel ban imposed on her. She had been working for international media from Bahrain for a number of years and she had received accreditation from the Ministry to do so. While she was waiting for her new accreditation to come through she was accused of working without permission, of violating the Press and Publication Law, 2002 and was banned. But local sources indicate that the ban is a result of official concern at her reporting. According to reports the government alleges her reports are partial and imbalanced, focusing on certain viewpoints and excluding others which reflect her own personal views. Based on such an evaluation of her work they have chosen not to renew her license. The government has said Radio Monte Carlo can send another reporter to replace Nazeeha. In a letter to the Bahraini authorities IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “This is completely unacceptable. It is not for any government to decide the placement of editorial staff. The actions of the government of Bahrain are a clear violation of international standards of press freedom and journalistic independence. “In line with its international obligations we urge the government to reconsider its decision and renew Nazeeha’s accreditation.”

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