In Bahrain it is dangerous to defend quality journalism

Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed and IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, at the IFJ headquarters in Brussels in September 2016. © EO / IFJ

Journalist Nazeeha Saeed, who the IFJ has supported for six months, is to face a court in Bahrain today (January 16). The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world's largest journalists’ organisation, has again denounced the pressure and attacks suffered by Nazeeha Saeed, the correspondent in Bahrain of France 24 and Monte Carlo Doualiya (part of France Médias Monde). Nazeeha Saeed, accredited journalist working for international media from Bahrain for 12 years, was accused last June of violating registration laws and was refused permission to work as a foreign correspondent and had a travel ban imposed on her. She is now facing charges in the Manama court of "usurpation of the status of foreign correspondents for working without authorization", which is both false and incredible for a journalist who has had all the required authorizations for 12 years. While fulfilling her journalistic mission in 2011, Nazeeha Saeed had already been arrested, tortured and imprisoned by the authorities. Serious breach of freedom of expression “For several months, the IFJ and its French affiliates have supported Nazeeha Saeed morally and financially”, said Anthony Bellanger, IFJ Secretary General, “by taking up the issue with her company’s French management, France Médias Monde, to provide her with work in Paris, which is the minimum requirement for an employer; but also with the French Foreign Ministry at the Quai d'Orsay, which the IFJ says must do everything in its power through diplomatic channels so that the nightmare of Nazeeha Saeed finally stops. "We know today that if she is sent back to her country, she is in great danger. And this hearing before the judges on 16 January is the first step to try to silence her! Attacking Nazeeha Saeed means attacking freedom of expression and freedom of information," he said. In Bahrain, it is not safe to carry the flag of quality journalism.

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