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

Bahraini journalists risk prosecution for offences which include "undermining" the government and religion. Self-censorship is widespread.

Bahrain is notorious for jailing journalists, often for extended periods, says Reporters Without Borders. Journalists are convicted on such charges as participating in protests and supporting terrorism.

The government uses the Press Law to curb criticism of Islam or the king, and supposed incitement to actions that undermine state security.

TV is the main source of news. Most domestic broadcasters are state-run. An opposition satellite station, Lualua TV, operates from London.

There were almost 1.3 million internet users by 2016 (Internetlivestats.com).

The internet is the last platform for free expression, but is subject to strong surveillance and curbs, says Freedom House.

Social media users face arrest and prosecution "for everything from serious government criticism to satirical jokes", and there is extensive blocking of online content.

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

The press


  • Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) - state-run; operates five terrestrial TV networks
  • Al-Ayyam TV - pro-government, Manama-based
  • Al-Ittihad TV - pro-government
  • LuaLua TV - pro-opposition, London-based, blocked in Bahrain


  • Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) - state-run; operates General Programme in Arabic, Second Programme featuring cultural and local programmes, Holy Koran Programme, Sports Service, English-language Radio Bahrain
  • Voice FM - private, for Indian listeners

News agency/internet