The 2011 Arab Spring brought about regime change in several countries and shook the political systems across the Middle East and North Africa. The US media widely covered images of protesters in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria chanting “down with the regime”. However, the US media has not paid similar attention to protest movements and calls for greater political rights in the Persian Gulf, where six countries are ruled with an iron fist. Since February 2011 hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated demanding more political rights and an elected government in Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy’s massive Fifth Fleet is based. The Bahraini authorities have responded by briefly imposing state of emergency, killing dozens of protesters and arresting thousands more. In Kuwait, where the US has 15,000 troops, the authorities have started to crack down on peaceful criticism of the country’s Emir since the start of the Arab Spring. In recent months, courts have imprisoned several activists for “offending the emir” in Twitter remarks. Dozens of others are on trial on similar charges. Why do these countries matter? What is the domestic media situation in these nations and what role can the international media play that the domestic media can’t? How should international journalists cover stories in countries where governments are repressive?
Mariwan R. Hama is the Arthur Koenig Fellow at New-York based Human Rights Watch. He joined the organization in September 2011 and covers Bahrain and Kuwait. Mariwan has conducted several field investigations on human rights violations in Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq. Before joining HRW, Mariwan worked as an editor and journalism trainer for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Iraq, where he also served as director of the Metro Center to Defend Journalists and vice-chair of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. The organizations are two of the leading media rights watchdogs in Iraq. Mariwan has also worked as the Middle East and North Africa research associate for the Committee to Protect Journalists. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
MARIWAN R. HAMA
ARTHUR KOENIG FELLOW AT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
MENAS Colloquium Series, Spring 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Co-sponsored by UA School of Journalism