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Save free expression on the Internet and help journalists under threat

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) is alarmed at the recent clampdown on the Internet by the government, which announced plans to block 1,040 websites. BCHR is also extremely concerned about the prosecution of journalists on charges of defamation, for reporting about government malpractice and corruption. Join BCHR and write to the authorities to support freedom of expression and the right to dissent.

Hundreds of websites, inside and outside Bahrain, have been blocked from within the country, including many public forums belonging to villages, religious, cultural and political establishments, opposition and human rights organisations. This includes the websites of IFEX members BCHR, and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), as well as the IFEX Arabic website. Bloggers and specific pages on Facebook and YouTube have also been targeted. These sites create a space for freedom of expression and discussion of subjects which are considered subversive by the regime.

In addition, BCHR says a culture of impunity is being fostered as journalists are being targeted for investigating unjust practices and corruption. Journalists Maryam Al-Shoroogi and Husain Sabt have been charged with defamation. Al-Shoroogi was charged with writing an article which "harms unity and introduces discrimination between Shia and Sunni Muslems" after she wrote about discriminatory hiring practises. Sabt was charged with defamation after he wrote about corruption. Their court cases are respectively scheduled for 27 September and 6 October.

For more information on these cases, see http://www.ifex.org/bahrain/ and http://www.bahrainrights.org

BCHR requests that you fax appeals to
Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of Bahrain, and Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Cabinet Prime Minister, at Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363.

For further information, contact: Nabeel Rajab, president, BCHR, e-mail: [email protected]

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