Bahrain state media has just confirmed earlier rumours on social media that 3 foreign journalists have been deported. In a statement, the Information Affairs Authority claimed that the journalists had violated Bahraini “laws and regulations”. The IAA claims that the journalists had been warned “more than once” about breaking media regulations (h/t @marcowenjones).
The 3 journalists are from ITN a (specifically, ITV News) and were deported “after being questioned at a local police station”.
Update: 16:14BST – Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed, who is a correspondent for France 24 and Monte Carlo, was working with the ITN crew. She has tweeted the following (I have removed hashtags for clarity):
Bahrain deported ITN team in their second day in the country, they get arrested while shooting AlSadiq mosque in Qfoul
My press card was withdrawn (Information Security) after that I was asked to leave the police station with the driver after the detention of ITN team
Police pulled my security media card and asked me to leave the police station with the driver after arresting ITN team
We asked [Ministry of Interior] & [Information Affairs Authority] why the ITN team been deported, no answer was given.
Update: 16:45 – A report in The Independent carries further details, including a statement from ITV News (note: ITN produces ITV News):
The group, who had the necessary visas permitting them to work there, were then again questioned and taken to a police station today, before being told they must leave the country or face going to prison.
An ITV News spokeswoman said: “Our news team were on assignment with visas approved by the Bahraini authorities.
“Having filed a report last night, they were stopped while filming this morning and taken to a local police station for discussions with officers.
“They have since been asked to leave the country, which they are in the process of doing.”
Update: 16:53BST – ITV News reveals that one of the deported journalists was ITV News special correspondent Rageh Omaar. He filed this report yesterday.
The Guardian has also covered the story.
Yesterday, Nazeeha and the ITN crew were stopped by police at a checkpoint and briefly detained at Budaiya police station.
This echoes a similar incident at last year’s Formula One when a team working for Channel 4 News (which is produced by ITN) were arrested, detained and deported.
This post will be updated as more information comes in.