Middle East

Bahrain profile - Media

Man reading newspaper in Bahrain Image copyright AFP
Image caption There is a private press, but most broadcasters are state-run

The government tightly controls the media.

The main TV and radio networks are state-run. Newspapers are privately owned, but they all follow a pro-government editorial line. A rare critical voice, Al-Wasat newspaper, was shut down in 2017.

An opposition satellite station, Lualua TV, operates from London.

In its 2018 press freedom report, Freedom House said that the authorities use a vaguely worded press law to imprison journalists for "criticising the king or Islam or for threatening national security".

Reporters Without Borders has said that Bahrain is "notorious" for jailing journalists and that reporters working for international media have faced problems renewing their accreditation.

There is an advanced telecommunication sector. Bahrain has the highest internet penetration rate in the Arab world with more than 1.5 million users as of December 2017, around 98 per cent of the population, according to Internet World Stats.

The authorities closely monitor online activity. Dozens of bloggers and social media activists have been detained or jailed for their internet activities. Freedom House has said the government blocks access to hundreds of websites.

BBC World Service is on FM in Manama (101.0 in English; 103.8 in Arabic).

The press

Television

  • Bahrain TV - flagship state network, one of six stations run by the Ministry of Information Affairs
  • Al-Maarif - private, Shia religious satellite station
  • LuaLua TV - pro-opposition, London-based. It has faced deliberate attempts to jam its broadcasts

Radio

News agency/internet