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Three journalists working for the British television network ITV were ordered to leave Bahrain on April 19 after being held briefly by authorities.

The journalists were reporting on political unrest while there to cover a Formula One race that took place over the weekend, CPJ reported. Bahraini authorities said that the journalists were expelled for failing to acquire proper licensing, while the journalists maintained that their trip had been approved and that they had the proper visas.

The film crew, comprised of former BBC correspondent Rageh Omaar, along with a cameraman and producer, were detained on April 18 before being ordered to leave the country the next day, CPJ reported.

The Guardian spoke with a representative of the ITV network and quoted her as saying, “Our news team [was] on assignment with visas approved by the Bahraini authorities… they have since been asked to leave the country, which they are in the process of doing.”

Protests have become a mainstay of Bahrain’s Formula One race, a time when international press and sports journalists flock to the island nation. The race was cancelled in 2011 due to major unrest, and Bahraini authorities have since cracked down on journalists in an attempt to stop them from covering the rising unrest.

By Ben Nadler

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