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Key Developments

» Kingdom blocks international reporters and press groups.

» As repression persists, one journalist is killed and another imprisoned.

The authorities continued to restrict critical reporting and independent news coverage a year after protesters began calling for reform in Bahrain. In February and April, the government denied visas to journalists and press freedom groups, including CPJ, and detained and deported several foreign journalists, effectively barring international news coverage of the unrest surrounding the Formula One Grand Prix and the first anniversary of the protests. Despite King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa’s pledge to uphold press freedom and reform, conditions did not improve. A journalist was detained for months after criticizing a proposed union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and an appeals court upheld the life sentence of critical blogger Abduljalil Alsingace, who has been imprisoned since March 2011. A well-known videographer was killed while filming a pro-reform protest in March.

  • 1

    Killed in 2012
  • 1

    Imprisoned on December 1
  • 128

    Days in detention
  • 31

    Violations in two months

Unknown assailants shot Ahmed Ismail Hassan as he was filming a pro-reform protest in March in a village southwest of the capital, according to news reports. Regionwide, fatalities soared in Syria but dropped in most other nations.

Comparing fatalities across the region:









Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

0 in 2011, 2 in 2012









Online journalist Abduljalil Alsingace was serving a life term on charges related to “plotting to topple” the regime. Another journalist, Ali Abdel Imam, was convicted to 15 years in absentia on similar charges. An appeals court upheld both journalists’ sentences in September.

Imprisonments over time:


Ahmed Radhi, a contributor to several local news websites, was imprisoned in May after criticizing a proposed union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in press interviews. He was released on September 20.

Timeline in Radhi case:

May 14:

Radhi posts comments from interviews on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

May 16:

The authorities arrest the journalist at his home.

May 17:

CPJ calls on the authorities to release him.

June 16:

A local court charges Radhi with “igniting a flame to achieve a terrorist purpose” and “participating in an assembly to disturb public security and using violence to achieve it,” among other counts.

June 29:

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights reports receiving a letter from Radhi saying he was beaten, blindfolded, and subjected to physical and psychological torture to make him confess to the charges.

September 20:

Radhi is released but the charges are not dropped.

CPJ documented at least 31 press freedom violations in April and May, as the government attempted to block news coverage of the unrest surrounding the Formula One Grand Prix.

Breakdown of attacks:

16 Denials of entry
10 Detentions
3 Deportations
2 Assaults

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Slideshow: Year in Photos

Slideshow: Year in Photos

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