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Posts Tagged ‘Bahrain’

Bahrain Grand Prix Event Does PR Damage to Government

Over the weekend, Bahrain hosted a Formula One car racing event that was not only meant to bring in lots of sponsorship money, but give the world the image of a unified Bahrain. All of that backfired when protesters and police in riot gear took to the streets, with at least one protester dying as a result.

“Bahrain’s government has spent $40 million to host the global luxury sporting event, hoping to demonstrate that normal life has returned to the Gulf island kingdom after it cracked down harshly on Arab Spring demonstrations last year,” Reuters wrote over the weekend. “But vivid televised images of streets ablaze threaten to embarrass Formula One and the global brands that lavish it with sponsorship.”

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No Response to the ‘NYT’ from Bahraini Government

We took some time this weekend to catch up on the print version of The New York Times, and, interestingly, continued coverage of the upheaval in Bahrain was published on Friday’s cover page, above the fold. The story goes into detail about the government’s crackdown on protesters, quoting human rights group figures: 34 people dead, 3,600 fired from their jobs, 1,400 arrested. Bahrain has 525,000 citizens. Unrest continued last week after the funeral for a protester killed by police tear gas.

The Times says it reached out via email to the government information office and a PR firm that the government hired for comment, but didn’t hear back. Qorvis and Sanitas International are working with the Bahraini government. When we spoke with Qorvis’ Matt Lauer last month, he said the firm is working to “highlight the changes” happening in the country and said the government “has worked hard to protect the rights and freedoms of people from all religious backgrounds and ethnicities.”

GulfNews.com reports that King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa will address the United Nations General Assembly this week, talking about issues in the region and the “modernization” in that country.

Al Jazeera Cancels Broadcasts of Bahrain Documentary

Bahraini protesters in June. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Al Jazeera has decided to cancel a number of rebroadcasts of a documentary, Shouting in the Dark, about the Bahraini government’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in February and March. Last Thursday’s debut of the doc was met with complaints from the Bahraini and Saudi governments, fueling talk of the network’s bias in favor of those that the Qatari government shares diplomatic relations. The emir of Qatar finances the network.

After The New York Times began asking about the documentary, a network spokesperson said it would rebroadcast it with a roundtable discussion. The documentary features secret footage captured during the protests. The government of Bahrain curbed media coverage of the uprisings . You can also watch the documentary on YouTube.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Bahraini government had hired Qorvis to help repair its reputation.

Qorvis Working with Bahrain’s Ruling Family to Improve Image

Protesters in Bahrain on August 7. AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

We included this story in this morning’s Ticker, but we think it’s important enough to give it a little more detail.

Salon reports that Qorvis is working with the ruling family of Bahrain (the country’s King is Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa) at a rate of $40,000 per month (plus expenses) with the goal of improving the government’s image. The firm has issued a statement following a raid on what the government says was an unlicensed Doctors Without Borders office in a residential building. A spokesperson for the nonprofit denies this, telling NPR that the group has been upfront with the government.

*Clarification after the jump.

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Al Jazeera Tracking Tweets from Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain with Twitter Dashboard

Al Jazeera has introduced a Twitter dashboard to chart the news and tweets about the revolts in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain. Mashable says the news organization is a little late to this game, but more importantly, it’s one more way that Al Jazeera is taking the lead in covering these uprisings.

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