In an email to PRNewser, Matt Lauer, partner at Qorvis, said the work the firm is doing with the government of Bahrain is meant to highlight the changes that are happening in the country.
In a recent article, Salon notes that Qorvis has submitted a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing stating that it’s being paid $40,000 per month for reputation work on behalf of the government of Bahrain.
Lauer notes in an email to us that the firm has worked with the Bahraini government (“a long-term American ally”) on a variety of projects for more than a year. “We are actively working to make note of the reforms and progress currently underway in the country,” Lauer added.
After protests in February and March left more than 30 people dead, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa created an investigative panel (he “set up the fact-finding mission following diplomatic pressure,” Al Jazeera writes) to dig deeper into the government’s crackdown. Some anti-government protesters have made allegations of torture.
“As you have seen, Bahrain has appointed an independent commission to look at all these accusations. The government, as a whole, has worked hard to protect the rights and freedoms of people from all religious backgrounds and ethnicities,” Lauer wrote.
“Bahrain is unique, and is a multi-faith and multicultural society. The government strives to preserve this tolerant characteristic. We help communicate the positive work the government is undertaking,” he continued.
It was announced this week that 137 detained protesters were to be freed. However, a Guardian story earlier this week quotes one protester saying, “The repression is getting worse” and recounts stories of protesters being hauled away by the authorities and beaten months after the February and March uprisings. (The story notes that there were no “beatings or shootings” on the night that the reporter did a ride-along with officers.)
Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Al Jazeera had been pressured by complaints from the Bahraini and Saudi governments to squash plans for a rebroadcast of a documentary about the government crackdown. It has since decided to rebroadcast it, accompanied by a roundtable discussion.