With the race just days away, international media is now turning the spotlight on Bahrain. Many journalists have arrived in the country and – to date – there have been no reports of people being denied access to Bahrain unlike last year. Below is a roundup of the various stories from the past 24 hours:
The front page of British paper The Independent‘s World section led with Bahrain and the attack on Jabreya boys high school by police yesterday. The wide ranging article by Loveday Morris also included a comment by Bahraini activist Sayed Ahmed, currently in exile in the UK having been arrested, jailed and tortured in 2011:
The street are clear, they don’t want a race on their blood. The security being used is enormous – it’s simply martial law which has not been announced.
The BBC also ran an article leading on the school attack, along with an analysis by correspondent Bill Law on the “background to the protests”. The Metro ran a similar guide on “Why the controversy?”
Many media organisations, including The Independent, covered yesterday’s press conference at the House of Lords, where the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain announced that they had written to F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone asking him to cancel the race:
BBC Sport – Bahrain Grand Prix: MPs want race cancelled because of unrest
Daily Mail – Ecclestone under pressure from MPs to cancel Bahrain race after letter condemning ‘atrocious human rights violations’
Evening Standard – MPs insist Bernie Ecclestone axes Bahrain race
Others organisations led on the recent comments by Bernie Ecclestone:
Reuters – Ecclestone willing to meet Bahrain opposition
BBC Sport – Bahrain Grand Prix: Bernie Ecclestone backs race to go ahead
Daily Telegraph – Bahrain protesters are just like those ‘complaining about Mrs Thatcher’, says F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone
The Guardian had an article on FIA President Jean Todt’s decision not to attend the Bahrain Grand Prix as he “will be busy electioneering because his four-year stint in office comes to an end this autumn”. The article adds that “he is expected to be re-elected unopposed.”
Other articles led on the growing protests and tensions:
Voice of America – Bahrain Protests Heat Up Ahead of F1 Race
Reuters – Bahrain opposition calls for stepped up protests ahead of F1
Daily Telegraph – Bahrain on edge ahead of Formula One race
The Daily Telegraph’s Chief Foreign Correspondent David Blair also ran a piece in the wake of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishing its annual human rights report. He writes:
The Foreign Office launched its annual human rights report today, singling out 27 “countries of concern”. But how are these offenders chosen? William Hague was at pains to say that the criteria have been reviewed since last year, although the only change is that Chad has dropped off the list. Meanwhile, various oddities remain.
Another curiosity is Bahrain. Once again, a case study on page 48 is deeply critical, quoting how a commission “observed that the use of torture by the security forces was a deep-rooted problem and that there was a lack of accountability for such acts”. The government of Bahrain responded by setting up a “Special Investigations Unit”, but the “number of officials being investigated is low, and actual convictions even lower”.
You would think those would be grounds for concern. So does Bahrain make the list? No it doesn’t.
See also the Media Roundup compiled by the Bahrain Justice and Development Movement for April 16th