On May 3, 2023, the world will celebrate the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. Three decades have passed since the United Nations declared this day in 1993 affirming that freedom of the press, the safety of journalists, and access to information is a right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a prerequisite and a driving force for the enjoyment of all other human rights.
The World Press Freedom Day comes to Bahrainis this year as the Kingdom of Bahrain did not accept all the recommendations related to freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press, during its universal periodic review at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council, where the 245 recommendations for Bahrain included approximately 26 recommendations related to freedom of opinion and the press Bahrain accepted only 15 of them, which raises concerns about the dangers surrounding journalistic work.
Hence, it must be recalled that freedom of opinion and expression is still restricted in Bahrain against those who practice journalistic work and producers of media content on the Internet since 2011 until the present day. Journalists suffer from strict laws that make their profession fraught with dangers. This restriction recently affected many activists on social media, including lawyer Ibrahim Al-Mannai, Qassem Al-Hujairi, Ali Hassan and Ibrahim Khalil.
In addition, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights recalls that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain guarantees the enjoyment of freedom of opinion and the right to expression in Article No. (22), which stipulates that freedom of conscience is absolute, and Article No. (23) of the Constitution added that freedom of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed, and every human being The right to express his opinion and publish it verbally, in writing or otherwise. We also recall from here that the Kingdom of Bahrain has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of which provides for the right to freedom of expression.
On the occasion of Press Day, Nedal Al-Salman, Director of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, called on the authorities in Bahrain to stop persecuting journalists and civil society activists by allowing citizens to express their opinions freely.
Accordingly, Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the authorities in Bahrain to:
- Respect and protect all rights of journalists and activists in line with Bahrain’s constitution, and with the international conventions it has ratified in this regard.
- Immediately release all journalists, photographers, and activists detained for carrying out their work or exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression.
- Opening media and press freedoms in the country to the other opposition opinion.
- Invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression to schedule an urgent visit to Manama.