06 MAY 2012

Freedom House condemns the Bahraini government’s sudden and unjustified decision to revoke permission for an international delegation of free expression organizations to visit Bahrain. This decision is the latest example of the government’s lack of interest in addressing the serious human rights abuses occurring in the country.

The delegation, affiliated with the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), included representatives from Freedom House, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, PEN International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and freelance journalist Clare Morgana Gillis. It was granted permission on April 11 by Bahrain’s Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development to conduct a mission to assess freedom of expression in the country. The Ministry reversed its decision on April 30 citing what it said were new “guidelines” that prevent more than one organization per week from visiting Bahrain. The denial came less than a week before the group was due to arrive, forcing the cancellation of the mission. Freedom House was also denied entry to Bahrain in January just days before a scheduled visit, despite having been granted visas.

more on freedomhouse.org

Reporters Without Borders condemns the Bahraini government’s last-minute withdrawal of the permission it had previously given for a visit by a delegation of NGOs that defend freedom of expression. Spurious grounds were used to prevent the visit, which had been scheduled to take place from 5 to 10 May.

The Bahraini authorities often reiterate their “respect for the principles of human rights and freedoms within the framework of law and order and justice,” but clearly do not include freedom of information.

“The withdrawal of permission just a few days before World Press Freedom Day is indicative of the Bahraini government’s desire to maintain a news blackout on the continuing crackdown and its limitless hypocrisy towards the international community,” Reporters Without Borders said.

More on rsf.org

The Bahraini government has a funny definition of transparency. Despite flowery invitations made during my last visit to the troubled country, an IFEX-affiliated delegation following up on our trip has been denied entry. Not entirely promising for a country that insists it is committed to “reform”.

Last time we went, we were there for the presentation of report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).

Officials highlighted the importance of international cooperation, but I’m guessing they felt that a Grand Prix or Air Show is the only way to secure that one.

More on indexoncensorship.org

Reneging on a promise made just weeks earlier, Bahraini authorities have denied visas to representatives of several free expression organizations who planned to travel to the kingdom next week to assess press and free speech conditions. CPJ is among several organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's director of human rights organizations condemning the action.

The free-expression delegation--affiliated with the International Freedom of Expression Exchange--was to include representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, PEN International, and Reporters Without Borders. Freelance journalist Clare Morgana Gillis was also to have participated.

More on cpj.org

The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns the Bahraini government’s withdrawal of permission it had previously granted for a visit by a delegation of NGOs who promote and defend freedom of expression. The delegation’s visit had been scheduled to take place from 6-10 May 2012.The withdrawal of the permission came on 30 April 2012 just a few days before World Press Freedom Day, which is held annually on 3 May.

On 11 April, the delegation had received permission from the Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development to visit Bahrain in order to evaluate the situation of freedom of expression. The mission team duly complied with the Ministry’s standard procedures for entry into the country. However, in a letter dated 30 April, the Ministry stated that it had reversed its decision claiming that new regulations had taken effect that prevented the presence of more than one international NGO in any one week.

More on gc4hr.org