Hamed bin Isa AL KHALIFA
King of Bahreïn since 6 March 1999
Predator since 2011
Bahrain, 168th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index
PREDATORY METHOD: Intolerant monarchy
FAVOURITE TARGETS: Photojournalists and bloggers
At least 11 journalists are currently held by the authorities. Dozens were arrested and tortured in the weeks following the anti-government protests in 2011. Women journalists and bloggers reported being sexually assaulted and subjected constant mistreatment. After criticising the use of torture in prisons and Bahrain’s participation in the war in Yemen, the blogger Nabil Rajab spent several years in prison and was eventually released on condition that he remained silent. Another prominent journalist, Mahmood Al-Jazeeri, is still being held in an isolation cell. He was the editor of Al-Wasat, the country’s only independent newspaper, which is now closed.
OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Barefaced lies
“We have affirmed our concern and interest, since the beginning of our development process, to provide constitutional and legal guarantees to protect the rights of journalists and media professionals to express their opinions safely and independently, and for their freedom to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas without restrictions.” (Statement by the king published on 2 May 2021, the eve of World Press Freedom Day).
“We fully and consistently support the rights of journalists, writers and staff of media and organisations, who carry out their noble mission without any threat or abuse. We do not, nor will we in the future, tolerate, during our reign, any insult, arrest or detention of any journalist who has exercised their legal and constitutional right to freedom of expression.” (Statement by the king on 3 May 2021, Press Freedom Day).