RN Board Member Al Jamri to PBS: It’s time we start listening to each other


In an interview with senior PBS correspondent Margaret Warner that aired 20 May 2011, Mansoor Al Jamri, founder and former managing director of Bahrain’s leading independent daily Al Wasat, affirmed that the issue in Bahrain is one of reform and is not a Sunni-Shia divide. He noted that the majority of Bahrainis, Sunni and Shia, want a constitutional monarchy, and that the current situation of essentially two countries living apart cannot be sustained. An excerpt of the transcript is provided below. To access the full transcript or listen to the interview online click here.

In Bahraini Government Crackdowns, ‘Nobody’s Untouchable’

Report aired 20 May 2011

Mr. Al-Jamri, thank you for joining us.

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI, Alwasat: Thank you.

MARGARET WARNER: Why do you think you have been singled out for prosecution?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: I’m really very surprised, because I was part and parcel of the reform process. I was invited by the king to come to Bahrain to launch this newspaper, Alwasat, which I founded and launched. And it became very successful commercially and politically.

And then, on the 15th of March, 2011, our press was attacked and damaged. And we had to work from homes. Later on, some e-mails cropped up into our system, which we didn’t know they were bogus news, and they were published. Later on, we found all came from one single I.P. address located in a neighboring Gulf state, namely in Saudi Arabia.

They filtered through the system because we couldn’t work. We were working from homes and because the authorities didn’t give us the protection for our journalists, who were targeted in checkpoints and in every other place.

MARGARET WARNER: So, you were set up?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: It was a setup. We were framed into it, and later on attacked, using — using it as a launching pad for closing down the newspaper.

MARGARET WARNER: You were founder of this paper. How does this make you feel?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: I feel, really, very sad. The Alwasat newspaper was distinct. It enlarged freedom of expression. It also enabled the leadership of the country to understand things that were not understood because there wasn’t the proper coverage. (continue reading)

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