Round table: The Restrictions Imposed on the Freedom of Opinion and Expression-Bahrain
“Bahrain Center for Human Rights” with the cooperation of “Bahrain Interfaith”, “Salam for Democracy and Human Rights”, and “Maharat Foundation” organized a seminar entitled “The Restrictions Imposed on the Freedom of Opinion and Expression-Bahrain”. The seminar discussed the use of regional laws as a mean to limit the freedom of expression in Bahrain. It reviewed the violations and constraints imposed on the citizens, organizations, and civil society that are making use of their right to freedom of expression, through judicial and legislative restrictions.
The legal advisor Ibrahim Sarhan, from SalamDHR, reviewed the legal articles that the government of Bahrain uses to restrict freedom of expression. In the second panel, Hussein Al-Sharif, from “Maharat Foundation” discussed Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that emphasizes the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Additionally, he listed the international legislations protecting this right. In this context, he noted the importance of human rights activists' knowledge of the gaps in internal laws and how these gaps can be used to their advantage.
Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman, from Bahrain Interfaith, commented on the provisions of incitement to hatred in Bahrain, and ways of guaranteeing the right to express one’s opinion through the scrutiny of the Bahraini law, and provided a precise definition of hatred, as well as the adoption of the Rabat Plan of Action. Finally, human rights activist Enas Aoun, from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights participated in a recorded video on the situation of prisoners of opinion and expression in Bahrain.