Bahraini uprising of 2011: The (No More) hidden political role of sports journalism

Publication Name

International Review for the Sociology of Sport


Two events have brought the social movement in Bahrain to light yet again: the temporary detention of the football player Hakeem Al-Araibi in Thailand for alleged ‘terrorist’ acts and the imprisonment of the activist Najah Yusuf because of her criticism of the hosting of a Formula One Grand Prix. This paper sheds light on the nexus between sports journalism and politics in Bahrain. It highlights the weaponizing of sports journalism during the first few weeks of the 2011 uprising to protect the regime. The coverage of the demonstrations is analysed to inspect how the 2011 uprising was reported on by the pro-regime sports newspapers. This paper argues that sports journalism played an unprecedented political role during the uprising when it was used by the regime as a weapon to confront the protests and in the process reinforce the regime's control over the country.

Open Access Status

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