Monday, February 28, 2005

The Arab world is trembling...for some reason

This is from Gulf Daily News, The Voice of Bahrain.

A suspect accused of inciting resentment against the government is being held in custody for 15 days pending investigation, the General Prosecution said last night.
He was arrested following a tip-off from the Information Ministry that a website, Bahrain Online, run by him was broadcasting news, pictures and information inciting hatred.
The suspect has admitted the charges as well as using a phone line registered in his sister's name.

This comment from a blogger...

The above news piece is another example of poor journalism. Firstly, there was no tip-off. The Ministry of Interior has been building a case against BahrainOnline since 1998, and your clue is as good as mine as to the specific pieces of writing they are using as evidence. ... The pulse from the forum is that the majority of users feel responsible for Abdulemam's incarceration as he is taking the flack for what they write. Meanwhile registered members have gone up to 20,000. It is a known fact that the government agents have also tried to participate in the forum at times to sway debates. The government fails to realise that BahrainOnline cannot be closed down, it has only increased its popularity. There are another 30 moderators who now run the site. Will they go down too? Some of their names came up in the interrogation.

The government fails to realise that the internet is an information medium beyond their control. Arresting Abdulemam will severly backfire on the them and the so-called reforms. Protests have been organised and another martyr born. Im almost sure the Parliament will not raise this severe breach of freedom of expression and carry on with scaremongering the nation.

Yet another scene to the political play. This time are they serious or will another Royal decree save the day? Ladies and gentleman, the curtains have been drawn, welcome to Bahrain - the model of Arab democracy.

Tuesday Evening, March 1...

At time where our country needed strong truth and reconciliation following the black era of the nineties, here is the government yet again fueling further hatred for itself. After trying to infiltrate it, then competing with it, now its using all its force to close the forum down. As someone suggested, had the King agreed to an online interview on BahrainOnline, he may have swayed reader views for his benefit.He really needs to sack his domestic PR campaigner. I mean how could he do this after an odious speech on peace, security an stability a few days ago, who is he kidding!

International coverage is picking up:

Good articles on Gulf News, this has an interview with a lawyer. Abdulla Hashim states that the charges the guys are accused of can carry up to 20 years in Jail. In addition, a good article in Reporters Without Borders . Story has also been reported by Al-Jazeera and Reuters. A BBC Radio Five interview with Curt Hopkins of the Committee for the Protection of Bloggers can be heard here (skip to 1:44:00)

These young people are really sticking their necks out. I haven't noticed a lot of attention on Bahrain, perhaps because it is supposedly run by an enlighened king. Progressive, you know. Right.

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