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Twenty-six IFEX members and others call on Bahraini government to stop clamping down on freedom of expression

(BCHR/IFEX) - The following is a joint action by 26 IFEX members and 21 other organisations:

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 artistic publications,
- the right to watch films of public interest (documentary, drama, action, fiction, etc),
- the right to express views, as journalists, writers, authors and bloggers,
- 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 "legalise" 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.


Arab Archives Institute, Jordan
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HR Info), Egypt
Article 19, United Kingdom
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Egypt
Cartoonists Rights Network, United States
Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES), Nepal
Centro de Periodismo y Etica Publica (CEPET), Mexico
Centro para la Comunicación Social (CENCOS), Mexico
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), Egypt
Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), Colombia
Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka
Freedom House, United States
Independent Journalism Centre Moldova (IJC Moldova), Moldova
Index on Censorship, United Kingdom
Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Turkey
Institute for Reporter Freedom and Safety (IRFS), Azerbaijan
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Belgium
Institute of Mass Information (IMI), Ukraine
Journalists' Trade Union (JuHI), Azerbaijan
Maharat Foundation, Lebanon
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Namibia
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Pakistan
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), France
World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC)
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

Non-member organizations:

Nadeem Centre for Psychiatric Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence
Hisham Mubarak Centre
Land Centre for Human Rights
Habi for Environmental Rights
Civil Observatory for Human Rights
The Egyptian Society for Democratic Development
Andalus Centre for Anti-Violence and Tolerance Studies
Ibn Khaldoun Centre for Development Studies
The Arab Organization for Civil Society and Human Rights
Alhorrya Centre for Political Rights and Democracy
Bahrain Journalists Association
Women Petition Committee
The Egyptian Center for Human Rights
Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights
Health Work Committees/Palestine
The Egyptian Association Against Torture
International Justice
KARAPATAN, the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights
Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP)
Network Integration of Arab Youth
Defend International

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

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