• Bahrain Grand Prix

Journalists refused entry to Bahrain

ESPNF1 Staff
April 20, 2012 « Ferrari won't chase track - Alonso | 'It was one of my best qualifying sessions' - Hamilton »
A side of the race weekend best not seen? © Press Association

The Bahrain authorities have refused entry to a number of journalists in recent days from organisations as diverse as Sky News, CNN, Reuters and the Financial Times.

Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent at Sky News, which is part of the BskyB organisation which broadcasts Formula One in the UK, was one of those who had a visa application declined. "Govt refuses to explain why I can't come in," Ramsay said on Twitter. "Govt welcomes F1 but not independent journalists who actually understand the complexity of this issue."

Bahrain's information ministry said that non-sports journalists who had been denied entry were welcome to come after the grand prix was over and blamed "logistics" for the problems. "We have also invited non-sports-related journalists who were unable to get a visa for this week to apply to come after the race," a spokesman for the ministry said. "It should be noted, however, that journalists from AP, AFP and Sky News all have teams here who are covering sporting and non-sporting events as is shown by their coverage."

A Sky News spokesman denied this, telling the Guardian: "Sky News applied for a Bahrain visa to report on the political situation in the country ahead of the grand prix this weekend. Despite repeated appeals that application has been denied. We continue to cover the story from Dubai."

Another correspondent from CNN was allowed in earlier this week and filed reports on the protests. But an application to have his initial three-day visa extended was denied and he and his film crew had to leave.

Bahrain also granted entry to a Reuters correspondent who covers the F1 but the organisations new correspondent is still waiting to see if his visa has been granted and is unlikely to be able to gain entry until after the weekend. Reuters parent company is a sponsor of the Williams team.

The Gulf business correspondent of the Financial Times was denied entry when he landed in Bahrain.