Journalist Anna Therese Day and her three coworkers have just been released by the Bahrain government. The crew had been detained while covering the fifth anniversary of the uprising that sought to unseat the Sunni monarchs who rule this majority Shia country. The government’s pretexts for the arrests were failure to register as journalists and physically attacking police. In reality, the government is likely concerned with protecting its image in the wake of the 2011 revolt—an uprising they brutally crushed with the help of Saudi troops.
Like many dictatorships, Bahrain’s rulers use the services of a US-based PR firm to help whitewash their violence; their company of choice is Qorvis Communications, LLC. Among the impressive feats of spin by the Bahraini government in recent years was the justification of the destruction of a 400-year-old Shia mosque, for the “reason” that it was blocking a highway.
In addition to giving advice to dictators, Qorvis Communications LLC also boasts on its client-list a pharmaceutical trade organization and smoking cessation groups. PhRMA, one major client, is an unscrupulous organization that lobbies to allow drug companies to gouge prices and avoid liability. Meanwhile, Qorvis also design anti-smoking campaigns
Presumably PhRMA has no problem employing a company whose services they share with Bahrain, Brunei and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which recently executed the pro-reform Shia cleric Nimr al Nimr.
Anna Day has covered Syria and the Middle East since the very beginning of the Arab Spring and was one of the first American journalists to cover the Islamic State.