Bahrain Political Orientation
- Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy (as per National Charter in 2001)
- Head of State and Government: The current King is Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- Prime Minister: Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
- Political Party: Political parties are prohibited; only authorized societies and associations are allowed
- Political Position: Center-Right
- MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 21.30 – Total Oppression
- World Press Freedom Rank: Bahrain 171/180
In 2023, Bahrain was ranked 171 out of 180 in the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. The organization noted that Bahrain is governed by the royal family with strict control and has a reputation for detaining numerous journalists.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
In Bahrain, most media outlets are owned by the government or royal family members. One such example is the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation, which provides radio and TV services and is controlled by the Information Affairs Authority, a state-owned entity. The IAA also controls the Bahrain News Agency. The Ministry of Information Affairs controls all TV and radio stations in the country.
Bahrain has six national daily newspapers, four in Arabic and two in English. These newspapers are semi-governmental and are owned by royal family members. BBC reports that “newspapers follow a pro-government editorial line.”
The print media is primarily owned by members of the royal family, including Akhbar Al Khaleej and Gulf Daily News. These pro-government papers publish positive news about the ruling family while avoiding criticism. Freedom House has reported that insulting the King could result in a prison sentence of up to seven years. While Bahrain is relatively liberal compared to other countries in the region, it is important to note that many Bahrainis still hold conservative social views. Journalists often practice self-censorship due to the criminalization of defamation. Finally, in 2017, Bahrain’s opposition media outlet, Al Wasat Newspaper, was forced to shut down.
In conclusion, in Bahrain, the government maintains control over the media directly and indirectly since the King and his family own the majority of outlets. As a result, press freedom is limited, as the Bahraini government enforces censorship.
Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
Do you appreciate our work? Please consider one of the following ways to sustain us.