Saturday, November 21, 2009

BCHR: A State-lead smear media campaign

Annoyed by human rights documentary reports and objective press releases:

A state-lead smear media campaign against BCHR and its president

19 November 2009

Two days after producing a documentary report about the counterfeit human rights activists and GONGOS in Bahrain, exposing their figures, roles and some of financial rewards they receive from government-linked sources, the BCHR and its president has been faced by fierce smear media campaign by some daily newspapers, electronic forums and TV.

The media attack was initiated by the Arabic Akhbar Al-Khaleej (AAK) and its counterpart in English, Gulf-Daily News (GDN), and later pursued by Alwatan newspaper, which was mentioned in the above report.

AAK is the oldest existing newspaper in Bahrain and is well known if its allegiance and closeness to Shaikh Khalifa Al-Khalifa, a leading member of the ruling family and the only Prime Minister Bahrain knew since 1970.

Alwatan newspaper is the media arm and product of Al-Bander exposed plot, funded and managed by the Royal court, and is well known of its sectarian incitement, antagonism and provocation against dissidents and human rights defenders.

In the front page of AAK , November 13th issue, there were two marked bogus news about myself. The first was positioned at the top right corner of the first page, titled "With my money and not the soft talk", in which the editor of the AAK falsified that:" In the recent election carried out in Karam Asia, Nabeel Rajab won the membership of the its board due to the financial and political support offered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence in Iranian Embassy in Malaysia”. The AAK further stated that: "Nabeel won the highest number of votes from the organizations which received Iranian money from him". The second piece of lie, situated in the lower right corner of the first page of the same issue,was titled "For refusing indicting Iran, Nabeel Rajab was ejected from a European Conference". In that part of the campaign, the AAK editor falsely narated that:"The Bahrain Kingdom Forum published a picture distributed by news agencies showing the expulsion of Nabeel Rajab, president of BCHR, in a European conference yesterday because he refused to condemn Iran, Ahmedi Nejad , the executions, and the latest killings of Iranian human rights activists". This piece of lie was also published in the GDN issue of the same day . It was markedly titled the front page,"Activist expelled from forum", and reiterated the same naration as in the AAK: " A Bahraini human rights activist was expelled from a European conference yesterday for refusing to condemn Iranian President and the recent government crackdown on protesters. Bahrain forums have posted a news agency picture showing the expulsion of the now-dissolved Bahrain Center for Human Rights president Nabeel Rajab from the conference"

In Alwatan and for thhree consecutive days, there were statements by some members of the GONGOs mentioned in the BCHR report, calling for prosecution of members of "unregistered" organisations which "aim on tarnish Bahrain image" considering their acts to be of "internal and external state security crimes" . Moreover, loyalists parilmentarians expressed their support to prosecute those "‬seeking to undermine the reputation of Bahrain", considering their organizations infiltrated by spoilers" . MP Abdulla Al-Dossary accused members of the "illigitimate establishments , like the BCHR, who have relations with foreign embassies, and deliver false information about Bahrain". MP Lateefa Al-Qaood, the lady supported by the Royal court, stated that "the Bahrain center does not have any official status and works for a foreign agenda". Salafi MP, Mohammed Khalid, who is known of his Hate speeches and statements, stated that: "This center is dissolved for several reasons as it has exceeded the red lines in what so-called human rights".

The latest media front and statements were produced to exhibit support to this week Ministerial Cabinet and Prime Minister "calling international organizations and bodies to rely on‮ official indicators and reports to make it more accurate and realistic". The PM noted that "some of these reports lack precision in ‮ ‬reflecting the reality as it relied on unofficial sources ineligible to provide these organizations with the accurate data that reflect the reality in Bahrain"

It is to the unfortunate of the AAK and GDN editors who failed to show any level of professionalism when referring to a picture taken by members of the Bahraini Embassy in Washington DC who attended a briefing in 15 October 2008 on religious freedom in Bahrain called upon by the US Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission . The picture shows Nabeel Rajab and two other activists from Bahrain- Dr Abduljalil Alsingace and Ms Maryam Al-Khawaja, as well as Dr Toby Jones - who were also invited by Congressman Frank Wolf, Chairman of the commission, to share their views and reports about the State-orchestrated violation of the religious freedom in Bahrain . The three Bahraini participant were faced with raged media smear and defamation campaign stigmatizing them with names, and calling them stooges of the USA .

From left- Nabeel Rajab, Abduljalil Alsingace, Maryam Al-Khawaja, Toby Jobes, Frank Wolf
Briefing session on the "Impact of political reform and religious freedom in Bahrain- Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional Task Force on International Religious Freedom
(15 October, 2008, Rayburn House- Office Building 2168, Washington DC- USA)

Few weeks ago, a similar campaign was launched by Alwatan newspaper and Bahrain TV. Alwatan posted the detail TV interview made by of its columnist, Sawsan Alshaer, who is also a presenter in Bahrain State TV. In that TV program , Hasan Mousa Shafeei, one of the figures mentioned in the BCHR documentary report about GONGOs and bogus organizations, was hosted to share the defamatory attack on Nabeel Rajab and other activists in Bahrain. Hasas Shafeei works as consultant in Bahrain Embassy in London to steer a homepage attacking human rights organizations and defenders in Bahrain.

It is envisaged that this fierce defamation and smear campaign against the BCHR and its president, Nabeel Rajab, is a counter reaction to the efforts of reporting and professional documentations of various human rights violations. This included intimidation and targeting Nabeel, his wife and family, through telephone calls and SMS, the post and the cyber space. Many cases were filed by Nabeel through the Public Prosecution (PP), but were not pursued or taken seriously.

The BCHR denounces such acts which are apparently fueled and supported by the Authorities to suppress activists and human rights defenders. The BCHR has vowed to report and document human rights violations, irrespective of its source, as a contribution towards protection and maintenance of such precious values. The State-lead media intimidations will not alter the BCHR policy of being objective and credible when dealing with human rights issues. The BCHR calls for the Authorities to remedy its human rights records by genuinely respecting and maintaining human rights instead of attacking and demoralizing those defending it in Bahrain.

"منظمات وحقوقيون بالتزوير" – Bogus Human Rights Organizations and Activists،,,