Bahrain: The Government vs. Media
King Hamad Bin Aissa Al Khalifa of Bahrain accused foreign media of of exaggerating unrest and inciting violence. ”It is quite clear that Bahrain has been targeted by purposeful, willful campaigns in some foreign media that sought to distort true facts, instigate violence, sabotage, hatred and hostility among citizens in our united nation,” the King said. Though the King affirmed freedom of the press in this speech, Reporters Without Borders labeled him as a “predator” of the media, and blamed him for the violence and abuse of journalists and bloggers. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa urged regime loyalists to vote against the Al Jazeera documentary “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark” in the Radio Times poll.
Frank Gardner wrote his report about his interview with Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. Brian Dooley called upon the government to release al-Khawaja instead of force feeding him, and added, “All of the 502 people convicted by the military court last year should have their convictions overturned, be freed immediately and have charges dropped against them.”
In related news, Naser al-Raas, a Canadien citizen, is now back in Canada and told reporters of his year-long ordeal in which he was tortured for 31 days. ”The first time that I felt safe was yesterday,” said al-Raas, who said he was electrocuted and subject to three mock executions — where his jailors fired rifles above his head — during his incarceration. Jess Hill asks: “will this quest for democracy result in Bahrain being taken over by its neighbour, Saudi Arabia?”