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Critics of Bahraini regime denied entry to UAE

(Freedom House/IFEX) - Mansoor al-Jamri, chief editor for Bahrain's independent Al Wasat newspaper, and his wife Reem Khalifa, an Associated Press reporter, were told by officials at the Dubai International Airport that they were on a list to deny entry.

This incident is the latest in the growing crackdown on journalists and political activists throughout the Gulf region and a sign of increased coordination between governments in the region to stifle dissent. Freedom House calls on the United Arab Emirates to make every effort to ensure that journalists can conduct their work freely.

Khalifa and Al-Jamri regularly cover the ongoing unrest in Bahrain, and Khalifa has recently written about the government's violent response to protests on the anniversary of the February 14, 2011 uprising.

Al-Jamri was a 2011 winner of the Committee to Protect Journalists' International Press Freedom Award. Last week, the UAE also denied entry to Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a scholar from the London School of Economics who was scheduled to speak about the political situation in Bahrain at a conference organized by LSE and the American University of Sharjah (AUS). The UAE's Foreign Ministry confirmed that Ulrichsen's criticism of Bahrain's ruling family was the reason for barring his entry into the UAE.

The UAE's laws on the media are considered among the most restrictive in the region, authorizing state censorship and prohibiting criticism of the government, rulers and ruling families, and friendly foreign governments. Reporters in the UAE are often subject to intimidation, harassment, and threats.

The government has also limited freedom of speech on the internet and convicted pro-democracy activists of insulting the country's leadership. The UAE is rated Not Free in Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2013 and Freedom of the Press 2012 surveys.

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