BAHRAIN authorities have hit back at critics who often report in the international media that it denies visas to US journalists and human rights activist describing it as a "baseless claim".
The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) said that several correspondents from leading news agencies and activists visited Bahrain, which showed its transparent approach.
"In the past few months correspondents from Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Voice of America and Reuters as well as British media representatives from The Times, BBC and Sky News have been given visas and reported from Bahrain, including organising access to high-profile individuals."
"Furthermore, it must be noted that the International Committee of the Red Cross has full access to Bahrain's detention facilities and to all prisoners to investigate any claims, in addition to other prominent human rights organisations and activists' visits that have constantly taken place."
The IAA strongly responded following an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled- Backfire in Bahrain, which stated that Bahrain denies visa to prominent US journalists and human rights activists.
"The Bahraini government accepted scrutiny with the release of the BICI (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry) report, as they progress towards transparency and openness."
It is worth mentioning that last month authorities deported a Seattle-based documentary filmmaker, Jen Marlowe, after she committed immigration fraud and was working in Bahrain without proper Media Visa.
The American filmmaker upon arrival told immigration officials she came to help a friend who had recently had a baby, but investigation showed the names and addresses she gave were fabricated.
While in Bahrain she was shooting a documentary film that required a proper visa.
In April during the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2012, three journalists from a British news channel were arrested and deported from Bahrain.
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 village.
The opinion piece in the Washington Post described that military sales by the Obama administration to Bahrain as a "concession" as it is a close US ally.
"Bahrain remains locked in a standoff between a largely intransigent government and a slowly radicalising opposition - and the regime has failed to fulfil its repeated pledges to end repression of peaceful dissent and undertake meaningful reforms," the article stated.
Responding to this the IAA said that after the BICI report, Bahrain is "fully committed to reform and addressing grievances
"For the author to claim the government's promises have failed is both uninformed and unfounded. Bahrain, like any other country, places a premium on sustaining national security and the acquisition of arms is vital in that respect."
"The GoB(Government of Bahrain) has an important historical relationship with the US built on mutual interests, reflected in the reception of HRH the Crown Prince, hosting of the US Fifth Fleet and on occasion, the sale of arms. Therefore to suggest that the recent sale of arms was a "deal" that backfired between the Crown Prince and the United States is ludicrous," the IAA stated.
The IAA stressed that the government was taking serious steps following the unrest last year with significant constitutional amendments made, signifying a major shift of power to the people "which includes the ability to reject the Prime Minister through a vote of no confidence by the elected body," it said.