Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fifty two national, regional and international organizations call on government of Bahrain to stop clamping down on freedom of expression

Fifty two national, regional and international organizations call on government of Bahrain to stop clamping down on freedom of expression

SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights

We, the undersigned human rights organizations, express our deep concern about the recent serious deterioration of freedom of expression in Bahrain.

This includes violations of:
- the right to post information about public issues on Internet sites,
- the right to print and distribute academic, documentary and artisticpublications,
- the right to watch films of public interest (documentary, drama, action,fiction, etc),
- the right to express views, as journalists, writers, authors andbloggers,
- the right for human rights defenders and activists to access media.

The Bahraini authorities have taken severe measures against activists to prevent them from reaching the public through media outlets, have blocked access to websites, have banned films, prohibited the printing of fictional and non-fictional books, and, above all, they have prosecuted writers and journalists for practicing their professions and expressing their beliefs.

Moreover, the Penal Decree Code of 1976 and the Press Decree Law of 2002 have both been used to nominally "legalize" the aforementioned violations.

We, the undersigned human rights organizations, call upon the Bahraini authorities to halt their attacks upon freedom of expression, to abolish abusive laws, and to respect their commitment to international charters and covenants, in particular Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

1. Alhorrya Centre for Political Rights and Democracy
2. Andalus Centre for Anti-Violence and Tolerance Studies
3. Arab Archives Institute, Jordan
4. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HR Info), Egypt
5. The Arab Organization for Civil Society and Human Rights
6. Article 19, United Kingdom
7. Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain
8. Bahrain Journalists Association
9. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Egypt
10. Cartoonists Rights Network, United States
11. Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES), Nepal
12. Centro de Periodismo y Etica Publica (CEPET), Mexico
13. Centro para la Comunicación Social (CENCOS), Mexico
14. Civil Observatory for Human Rights
15. Defend International
16. Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP)
17. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), Egypt
18. The Egyptian Association Against Torture
19. The Egyptian Society for Democratic Development
20. The Egyptian Center for Human Rights
21. Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), Colombia
22. Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka
23. Freedom House, United States
24. Habi for Environmental Rights
25. Hisham Mubarak Centre
26. Ibn Khaldoun Centre for Development Studies
27. Independent Journalism Centre Moldova (IJC Moldova), Moldova
28. Index on Censorship, United Kingdom
29. Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Turkey
30. Institute for Reporter Freedom and Safety (IRFS), Azerbaijan
31. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Belgium
32. International Justice
33. Institute of Mass Information (IMI), Ukraine
34. Journalists Trade Union (JuHI), Azerbaijan
35. KARAPATAN, the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights
36. Land Centre for Human Rights
37. Maharat Foundation, Lebanon
38. Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Namibia
39. Network integration of Arab youth
40. Nadeem Centre for Psychiatric Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence
41. Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Pakistan
42. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), France
43. Women petition committee
44. World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC)
45. World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)
46. KARAPATAN, the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights.
47. Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) .
48. Network Integration of Arab Youth.
49. Defend International
50. World Association of Newspapers
51. Bahrain Youth Society of Human Rights
52. HAQ- Movement of Liberties and Democracy- Bahrain

For further information contact
Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama,Bahrain, Tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail:,, Internet: