Bahrain Slams Foreign Media for Description of Protesters Sentenced to Death

Official Statement Objects to Calling Them 'Protesters'

The Bahraini government’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA) issued a statement this weekend angrily condemning the global media for its coverage of the trial of several Shi’ite protesters sentenced to death.

According to Bahrain’s state news agency, the IAA objected to the foreign media referring to the protesters as “protesters.” The state media referred to them only as “criminals” or “terrorists,” and those seem to have been the government’s preferred terms.

The IAA insisted it was unprofessional for media outlets to refer to them as protesters, saying that it gave the impression that they “have the right to protest.” The seven charged were in fact protesting at the time and were accused of killing two police during the crackdown against Shi’ite protests.

The trial was held by a secretive military court, even though the detainees were all civilians, and within three days officials announced that four were sentenced to death. Bahrain has only executed four people in the past 33 years, but following the declaration of martial law officials praised the new sentences as proof of the government’s commitment to life.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.