Journalists association demands apology from human rights watchdog for verbal abuse

August 30, 2010
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Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) is piling up pressure on Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) to issue a formal apology for the verbal abuse of journalists at a press conference organized by the society.

The rights watchdog had called for the conference to highlight the case of the Bahrainis detained by the security authorities for their alleged role in the acts of violence, sabotage and terror that have hit Bahrain for the last two weeks.

However, when journalists asked society officials about their non-condemnation of the attack on the managing editor of Al Watan newspaper on August 25 and their silence about the detention of Bahrain-based fishermen by Qatar for allegedly straying into Qatari waters, they were told that it was not the focus of the meeting and that they could not issue a statement on every occasion someone is attacked.

Charges by journalists that the attitude reflected a partisan highlight of human rights issues led to relatives of detainees held in security-related cases and invited by the society to the conference to utter abusive comments of some of the journalists.

“We utterly resent the insults to journalists and the attacks on their professionalism,” the BJA said. “We deeply regret the pressure on journalists not to seek truths as they carry out their job in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy. The human rights society has to assume its responsibilities and apologise to the journalists.”

Two journalists later said that they received personal telephone calls from Abdullah Al Durazi, the head of the society, to present excuses for what happened.

Bahrain Human Rights Society was set up in 2002, and several of its members are associated with Bahrain’s largest leftist group, the National Democratic Action Society (Waad).

BHRS made history in December 2005 when it became the first NGO in the Arab world to carry out a prison inspection when it visited Jaw prison.

The party visiting Jaw included activists, doctors, and psychiatric nurses with the purpose at examining the facilities, the treatment of prisoners and looking for any signs of abuse.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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