THREE journalists from a British news channel who were arrested and deported from Bahrain on Sunday had broken the country's visa rules.
Channel 4 News foreign correspondent Jonathan Miller, cameraman Joe Sheffer and producer Dave Fuller arrived on a tourist visa, but were caught filming an illegal protest in a Shia village.
The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) yesterday said the crew had violated the rules and regulations set up for foreign media correspondents.
"The three journalists covered local events without having obtained requisite permission, brought unlicensed equipment to the kingdom and took part in a non-peaceful and unlicensed demonstration," it said.
The IAA stated more than 200 accredited journalists from various media outlets attended the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
It said other non-sports related journalists were invited and those who were unable to get a visa for the F1 were asked to reapply and come after the race.
The Channel 4 crew had been accompanied by opposition activist Dr Ala'a Shehabi and a Bahraini driver, who they claimed was mistreated by police during his arrest.
According to Mr Miller, the group was detained after riot police surrounded their vehicle following a short car chase.
The Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into the allegations.
Channel 4 News yesterday confirmed its reporting team had left Bahrain.
"We are pleased to confirm that our team is safe and on their way back to the UK," it said in a statement.
"We also have confirmation that the team's driver, who they saw assaulted by Bahraini authorities, and human rights activist Dr Ala'a Shehabi have also been released."
In a news report, Mr Miller admitted his crew had been operating without official accreditation.
He said after their arrest they were driven to the Bahrain International Airport and deported to the UK.
"OK...Channel 4 three finally being deported aboard a non-British airline," Mr Miller tweeted yesterday.
"Goodbye Bahrain. I met some lovely people but not many were cops."
Sources said the British Embassy provided consular assistance to the journalists following the intervention of British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The chief foreign correspondent of Britain's Telegraph newspaper Colin Freeman also claimed he, along with a Dutch colleague, translator and Bahraini driver, were temporarily detained on Sunday.
"We had been driving through the Shia neighbourhood of Sanabis and were told we were suspected of attending an illegal demonstration," he wrote.