Freedom of Speech my big toe!

25 Apr, '05

Webmasters must register or face legal action

Webmasters face prosecution if they defy new rules announced by Bahraini authorities. All Bahraini websites set up here or abroad must register with the Information Ministry or face legal action, it was declared yesterday.

A six-month campaign is being launched next Monday to register all Bahraini websites, under orders from Information Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar.

“The ministry will announce soon the details of how each website owner or supervisor can register,” Information Under-Secretary Mahmood Al Mahmood told the GDN.

“If they fail to register then legal action will be taken against them based on the country’s printing and publishing laws.”

He said websites would face similar laws to newspapers, related to libel, public decency and ethics.

Just as a newspaper editor-in-chief is held responsible for what he publishes, so will the webmasters be, he said.

Ministry printing and publishing director Jamal Dawood said registration procedures would be in line with those for all types of publications, including newspapers, leaflets, audio and visual media.

GDN

We woke up this morning to this. We first got wind of it through a very Silly site.

That the Ministry of Information continues to innovate and create new ways to drag the name of these islands in shite. The ministry being an extremely important appendage of Bahrain, Inc. can’t have come to this conclusion by themselves, they (the whole government) must be still smarting from the bahrainonline.org debacle, when sane people would think twice on generating adverse publicity once again by trying to control what is printed, this time they seem to have gone a step further and want to penalise us for our thoughts as well.

Nothing new of course, after all, the impression that the Ministry of Information is most concerned about is the complete destruction of Bahrain’s reputation nationally and internationally.

However, the Ministry of Information is really not to blame, it is an executive body trying to keep within the letter of the law. The blame is fully on the parliament’s doorstep and every single member of that impotent organ, be they elected or appointed. Functioning for over 3 years now without a single law that would improve Bahrain’s standing in the world, nor a single one that would improve our standards of living. Unless of course you consider that allowing veiled women to drive, protecting us from Nancy Ajram, or the requests to the Ministry of Works to install traffic bumps on roads achievements.

6 months.

We have 6 months to fight this brain-fart, or else just shut up and gobble it all up. And although we cannot depend on the parliament, unfortunately it’s the only place we have to petition to do something.

Therefore what I propose is:

1. Don’t register any site, if at the expiry of the 6-month deadline comes about without any progress, put up a statement on our websites declaring the death of freedoms of speech in Bahrain and abandon the sites.

2. Organise an on-line petition where all webmasters and website patrons can electronically sign. At the end of the 6 month period print it out and hand it to the Chairman of the National Assembly. As it is his chamber through Ibrahim Bashmi who is working on the new press and media laws rather than the moronic chamber of representatives.

3. Immediately organise a meeting and invite ALL webmasters to attend to take this issue further.

If they think that we’d be lying down and taking it, they’ve got another thing coming.

Who’s with me?

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Comments (97)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Oi, this is shit! Im not from/living there, but I’m with you folks in any way you need that I can provide. This is poop!

  2. umhajar says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    woops that was me above with the poop entry

  3. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    you guys should contact RSF about this.

  4. Rickardo says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    What were they thinking when they pulled this one together? Historically, these kinds of tactics have never been completely effective anyway. It creates hard feelings, more distrust not to mention it drives people underground. :S

    [Modified by: Sume (Sume) on April 25, 2005 07:18 AM]

  5. Mike says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    The Bahraini government may be doing more than just enraging its own constituents. What is this going to do for it in an international light?

    I didn’t even know where Bahrain was before I started reading this site. Now it is one of my top picks for traveling to the Middle East — but with the advent of laws like this, I’m no so confident in visiting. I can’t be the only one who feels similarly … this could be very bad news for tourism and national image. Commoners in America will start lumping Bahrain in with Saudi Arabia and Egpyt when it comes to valid political systems. I doubt that’s a parallel anyone wants.

    Fight it, Mahmood! I’m on the other side of the world, but you are representative of more people than you know. You’ve got my support.

  6. mohd says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Ah, the party’s moved here. Here’s my comment imported from Chan’ad’s post

    [quote]Well, they’ve got six months to find us all out. Here’s thinking they don’t have a chance. Or do they?

    This one story doesn’t hold up on its own. It has a lot of legal holes. For one thing, what is a Bahraini website? Of course they’ll come up with a ham handed definition that wouldn’t make sense in the real world.

    Two, how do they know exactly who can be held liable NOT registering?

    Three, all of us clowns use foreign hosting services, blogger, blogspirit which we all post to. So does that mean that an American site has to register parts of it’s domain to the MoI? Excuse me while I go beat the lawyers off my porch with a stick.

    The whole point of this exercise is really to extend the laws of defamation to the internet. That’s no laughing matter, but has yet to reach some sort of resolution globally.

    Finally, what do business sites have to say about this? Ones currently operating on the island probably won’t mind. They’ve been bending over for years.

    But how are you going to sell this to a prospective investor? Oh, Come build your business here, tie up your money for months as you hop over miles of red tape. Now if you want to advertise as a business, run around after our paper shufflers for another month before you decide to take it all to Dubai and set up shop before lunchtime.[/quote]

    In any case, we’re all in this together. While those old farts are still sitting by their rotary phones, the world is running circles around them. I’m on it this afternoon.

    Not to confuse the issue, but I do want to make mention that whatever scenario we all fear as bloggers is similar to what we could experience as individuals if the SmartCard comes to effect. If you don’t trust the Bahraini government to “watch” what you do on the net, how can you trust it to watch what you do in real life? Your every movement, your every purchase, what you make, how you make it? hey, what if they require you to use your SmartCard to log on to the net? Just making a point….

    That said, someone needs to rein these morons in. Excuse me, but I have a congressman to harass…

  7. Bahrainiac says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Ahh Freedom…. It was a nice thought…..
    It just doesn’t sit well with the ultra-conservative types. Why should they let some pesky idea like press freedom get in their way!? It would allow someone to say what he thinks without reciprocity, and yani, this cannot be allowed!

    What would the mannequins think!

  8. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Trackback:

    Posted this on my site:

    When checking out Mahmood’s blog I saw this post that Bahraini website have to register with the Ministry and will face legal actions based on the countries laws and regulations concerning the press.

    I am mixed about this.

    First I think it is a good thing for websites that consider themselves journalists and run a media site. This can have them considered a company and also some what protection. A lot of US bloggers are actually working on having their blogs considered a journalistic site, and giving them equal status to print media companies.

    Why it is bad, well it is forced and we know that the Bahraini Ministry is just doing this to keep track of the anonymous people that are posting about the problems and issues they are having with the government. Just look at what they did to people who were and could be found. So automatically their motives are not for the benefit of the people. Another thing what is considered a “Bahraini” website? Websites run by Bahrainis? Or what about expats living in Bahrain, will they be under this law? Or is it just for the websites they they dont like?

    Our problem in the Gulf is that governments still think they can control what we read, watch and listen to. They act like they are waging an on going battle, but the truth is we already won the war. They have tried on numerous occasions to censor internet, ban satellites, black out magazines etc and that information still gets through to us. These aren’t black boxes that you can stop at borders, but ideas and thoughts that are going to shared, discussed and shared again.

    Mahmood is setting up a good program for this situation in order to deal with it accordingly. And I pledge my full support to the Bahraini bloggers, this is not just their fight but ours as well. If this succeeds in Bahrain, who says we aren’t next?

  9. mahmood says:

    New Blogs

    Please welcome:

    http://bahrainicensor.blogspot.com and
    http://bahrainicensor.blogspirit.com

    to the fray. These two blogs were just set up today and I wish them longevity.

    Any new Bahraini blogs/sites you know of?

  10. Reem says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    I don’t understand….. how can they talk about introducing Human Rights into school curriculums and pull this at the same time????

    Argh… i don’t know… i’ve been reading a lot on the FSF (Forward Strategy of Freedom) which is a sub strategy under the US’s Global War on Terror, and it seeks to spread democracy as a means of eradicating terrorism.

    it seems like they’re picking and choosing to suit their ultimate power motives, and strip us of any civil liberties!!

    Sorry if this came off confusing, I’m just sooo taken aback that i can’t seem to think straight!

  11. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    How do they classify a ‘Bahraini’ website? If the website is hosted abroad and the word “Bahrain” or “Bahraini” is changed to “Foo” or “Foobar”, how can the authorities tell?

    N

  12. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    This is the advantage of being anonymous, they won’t be able to touch anon sites, but would clobber sites like this one as I am anything but anonymous!

    For instance, how are they ever going to sue anyone for lible if they don’t know who the hell it is who is libling?

  13. salima44 says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    So this is the fault of the US Reem? Just how is the US at fault for this?

  14. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    We’re with you 😉 We’re with Bahrain and we’re with granting some respect for this great country and it’s people!

    Silly Me

  15. chrisamillion says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    what ever you guys do….be careful!

  16. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    I’m down with making a stand…

    I can’t believe I need to register my stupid site with some government authority… You can’t control what people are going to say, that goes against everything you’ve claimed yourself to be… this is going to negatively affect our image in the global spotlight…

    oh by the way.. Freedom of Speech called, he said he’s gonna go hang out in Scandinavia for a while… he prefers Swedish blondes to civil rights reform…

    bahraini rants.. soon to be changed to “Bhutani Rants”

  17. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    On a related note. This type of censorship also has an economic implication as well:

    Skype squashed in UAE
    Posted Apr 25, 2005, 4:02 PM ET by Barb Dybwad
    Skype logo

    Nobody’s 100% sure why, but Skype users in the United Arab Emirates are being blocked from the Skype.com site, which prevents them from buying minutes for use with SkypeOut — meaning they can’t take advantage of those deep discounted international calling rates. Also, no one is quite sure where the blockage originates, although the guess is somewhere within Etisalat, the only ISP in the UAE. Since Etisalat has a monopoly on telephony there, the motive could be economic, or it could be one of political control — because Skype encrypts conversations, it’s much more difficult for say, a curious government agency to listen in.

    from:
    http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000420041288/

  18. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re(2): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    BM, BM, BM,

    Do I have to explain everything to you? Anything bad that happens anywhere in the Middle East is America’s fault. If you stub your toe in Manama, AMERICA IS TO BLAME! If a scorpion stings your dog, AMERICA IS TO BLAME! If your country is run by thugs and America has not kicked them out, AMERICA IS TO BLAME! If your country is run by thugs and America kicks them out, AMERICA IS TO BLAME! If a tsunami kills 200,000 people in Asia, AMERICA IS TO BLAME!

    The only difficult part in this fun, fun game is connecting the dots to explain exactly how America inflicted this particular woe upon you. The best way to do this is to blow smoke to obscure the issue, hinting at dark and secret conspiracies of neo-cons or Zionists. Those Zionists are everywhere you know, wreaking havoc everywhere all the time to everyone. Lying is always an option, too. If you can find an American who passed through town, then he is obviously a CIA agent who talked the local royalty into undermining rights of Bahraini bloggers. Since you’re questioning that America is to blame, you are undoubtedly part of the conspiracy and cover up.

    The key factor in this is a passionate enthusiam for shifting the blame. You don’t need to make sense nor a logical argument, just furiously repeat that AMERICA IS TO BLAME! Volume trumps reason.

    Of course, if America were not to blame, then the locals would need to take responsibility for their own nonsense and have the burden of fixing it themselves. Who wants to do that? It’s much easier to blame America.

    Do you see how it works now, BM?

    Steve

  19. mahmood says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    if you agree with me that we have to do something about this, then start writing about this subject in your own blog and link back to this article. this way we’ll spread the fire so that even if they close down one site, others will be up and running.

    what if we encourage others, as many people as possible to start blogs? they can shut down a hundred sites, but I doubt if they’ll have the stomach to shut down 10,000! So, as SBG says, let’s just start doing it, and don’t limit the new blogs to a single service like blogger, it’s important to spread them about to other services as well… there is no reason to put all of our eggs in one basket.

  20. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Bahrain, Bahrain, Bahrain,
    who’s MPs have no brain,
    They think just like they look
    and have never touched a book
    Bahrain, Bahrain, Bahrain….

  21. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    What provision in the constitution does this new proposal refer to?
    Can we challenge it’s legality under the constitution?

    PT

  22. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    It’s based on the Press Law number 47 of 2002 which various organisations are challenging or attempting to challenge in the Constitutional Court. That law basically gives both the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of the Interior the full right of detention, interrogation, and incarceration for whatever they want, and they would hold the editor-in-charge (webmaster) and the individual journalist (sub-webmasters and probably even a commenter) responsible for anything printed anywhere.

  23. ammarlovegod[deleted]1099322617 says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Can we challenge anything’s legality under the constitution?!!

  24. kategirl says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    they can shut down a hundred sites, but I doubt if they’ll have the stomach to shut down 10,000!

    I don’t think the government REALLY wants to register/block each every Bahraini site on the web. I really don’t think they’re bothered about all the business websites, or the personal/family blogs.

    I think they just want to use this as a pretext to slam down hard on us if we ever say something out of line. If the site is registered then they’ll know exactly where to send the goon patrol to arrest the webmaster. And if it is not registered than they will have some sort of legal pretext upon which they can block the site. The government is trying to threaten us into silence more than anything else.

    btw, did any of you read the spin put on this by the [url=http://www.bahraintribune.com/ArticleDetail.asp?CategoryId=1&ArticleId=66957]Bahrain Tribune[/url]?

    With a multi-pronged strategy to ensure better investment environment, enhance social development and protect human rights and Press freedom, all Web sites launched in and outside the Kingdom and related to Bahrain will be registered

    Hah!

    Anyways, I’m with you on this of course. The online petition sounds good. I’ve also contacted our saviours the Committee to Protect Bloggers and let them know about the situation. What about the Bahrain Internet Society… are they good for anything?

  25. NickUSA says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    NANCY AJRAM! OMG!!! I love her. She’s coming to Houston on the 15th of May, and I’ll be going to see her!

    Ya Salam!!!

  26. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    trackback:
    http://digressing.blogspot.com/2005/04/blog-post_26.html

  27. Steelangel says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    This is complete and utter shit – but then again not unexpected.

    Look at what has happened in the recent past: the BahrainOnline debacle! The authorities cannot handle the idea of dissent. Historically, dissent hasn’t exactly been greeted with much less than the death penalty in the Middle East, and this is in lock-goose-step with it.

    However, I support Mahmood and the rest of the Bahraini bloggers 100% in their quest for one of the most basic Human freedoms: That of open speech. Even if Steve and I have to form up a special ops squad and save you all. 😀

    Though, you may not want to invoke the Charter of Human Rights for more than looks, Mahmood. Saudi signed that too, if I recall right. There’s no penalty for ignoring the charter, and the OIC states signed the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights which states:

    [b]Article 22
    (a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.
    (b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.
    (c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.
    (d) It is not permitted to arouse nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form of racial discrimination.[/b]

    This was proposed to the UN to override the UN Declaration for Muslim countries, because the UN charter was too ‘western’. Being that is itself filled with contraventions to the UN Charter, it was officially dismissed, but lives on amongst OIC members.

  28. khaled says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    This is interesting

    http://www.opennetinitiative.net/studies/bahrain/#16

    Has some definitions pertianing to law 47 and lists sights currently filtered or banned.

  29. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    you guys speak alot. you’re just making it bigger than it actually is.
    what they’re trying to lay down is basically impossible. forget the issue and go on on your lives, build websites, forget registering them with the ministry, noone will ever knock on your door one day saying you haven’t registered your website!

    this is FUNNY!

  30. anonymous says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    bahrainicensor.blogspot.com
    bahrainicensor.blogspirit.com

    other alternatives for mirror blogs are as follows:

    bahraincensorship.blogspot.com
    bahraincensorship.blogspirit.com

    bahrainicensorship.blogspot.com
    bahrainicensorship.blogspirit.com

    bahraincensorshit.blogspot.com
    bahraincensorshit.blogspirit.com

    bahrainicensorshit.blogspot.com
    bahrainicensorshit.blogspirit.com

    Be my guests…

    Silly Me 😉

  31. anonymous says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    But when they do come beating down your door, there will be [i]zero[/i] legal recourse for you. That’s the problem.

    Libel is different things to different people. If I call someone a twit, is that libel? If I speak of the Prophet irreverently, is that libel? If I speak an uncomfortable truth, is that libel? I fear that this will chill free expression, and that is a dangerous thing. The lack of free expression is cultural suicide. So long as you are not advocating violence or sedition you should be protected.

    As we can see in the US, speech is still not completely free (Except perhaps for nazis and jihadis.. thanks ACLU) but it is a lot more free than in some places. Over here, unacceptable speech can give you some social repercussions, but at least there’s no commando team with knives willing to sneak into your house and kill you in front of your kids for it.

  32. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    I concur with Steve.

    Welcome back, Malik.

  33. Steelangel says:

    Re(2): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    That post was from me. Apparently mahmood.tv cookies don’t save well on by browser 😛

  34. 7alaylia says:

    Re(3): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    Thanks Steve and Ethan!

  35. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Mahmood, perhaps the proposed Committee for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue are behind this … you know, to stop the use of foul or suggestive language on your blog, and to keep Nancy Ajram’s name out. I see a conspiracy here, lol!

    I wonder if people like me, Americans who lived and breathed in Bahrain in the past and set up blogs, might be considered Bahraini bloggers for merely mentioning the country’s name? I’ve been thinking of setting up one called Friends of the King When We Were Teens, but perhaps the MOI wouldn’t want that kind of information in the blogosphere either. Ya’ think? Could I expect a knock on my Seattle door in the middle of the night?

    This does seem a terribly ill-considered move by the government. I’ve been wondering what it might do to Blogger or Blogspot and so forth if one of the political societies, say Al Wefaq, encouraged the 80,000 demonstrators to set up their own blogs, call them Bahrain Flag Number One, Two, Three, ad infinitum. Having followed yours for a long time and seen the number of bloggers in Bahrain growing by leaps and bounds, 6000 you say, well, just imagine another 80,000. Okay, 80,001 counting mine.

  36. mahmood says:

    Re(1): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    There was no distinction, Jamal Dawood and co want EVERY website registered. Farsical I know. But dangerous nevertheless if everybody just sheepishly acquiesced to their whims.

    Not registering my business sites won’t affect me. I chose not to sell any goods online as there are no credit card clearing operations in Bahrain. And with these diabolical rules and regulations which seem to happen out of the blue, without any thought whatsoever given to their business and political impact, I can understand that no sane businessman is going to put his money and effort in creating such a clearing operation.

    In fact, I don’t know how they call Bahrain as the “banking centre of the middle east” when they don’t have an effective operation that promotes business transactions online.

    It is THIS issue that Jamal Dawood should concern themselves with, rather than demanding a completely moronic edict to force people to register websites, the benefit of which completely escapes me. If – as they claim – it is to support democracy by ensuring that webmasters are resonsible and do not libel anyone, then it is most definitely NOT in their pervue, if anyone has an issue with any published article regardless of where it is, s/he should resort to the law of the land and go through the established judicial procedure, rather than be forced to do so by a government organ which has been deemed not only inappopriate in this day and age, but completely obsolete in most if not all democracies.

  37. mahmood says:

    Re(3): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    not so! Xaraya allows several security settings scenarios as far as sessions and cookies are concerned. I have set the security setting here to “medium” and set the session to time out in 90 minutes without actively (requiring you to re-login) and the cookie life to 30 days at the expiry of which, you will be forced to re-login as well.

    See? they think of these things!! 🙂

  38. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    It is far from funny my friend, I wish it were.

    The sage said something to the effect that the law does not protect the ignorant, so it is well worth the effort to ensure that should there be laws, then they should be made to protect the innocent. Having a blaze attitude that “it won’t happen to me” or “it’s just a flash in the pan” won’t cut it. That’s what various people have already experienced under the law, number 47 to be exact, when they published something that the government took issue with, even though the society has been “comforted” on several occasions that this law will never really be used, and it will only be applied in very rare circumstances.. a few weeks after that was done, both Al-Wasat newspaper and the editor of a political society were prosecuted and continue to be prosecuted under that law.

    It pays to be careful. It pays to stand up to laws and brain-farts like these because if we don’t, they will most certainly be applied when you least expect them. And then there is only yourself to blame.

  39. mahmood says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    benefit of the doubt time guys, I know Reem personally and she’s the sweetest person you could ever want to meet. moreover she’s a non-judgemental person. So let’s just leave it at that.

  40. 7alaylia says:

    Re(2): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    This whole thing seems like a load of rubbish. I think it is more about trying to scare people into self-censoring. How will this affect blogs? Are you going to be responsible for the content of posts that people make from anywhere in the world? What are the responsibilities of blog owners for the content of their blog? Are you responsible for what a nutter somewhere in the world posts? If you are responsible for maintaining it, at what level do you have to do so? If a person posts something libelous or slanderous do you have a responsibility to remove this content? In what time frame?

    I ask this because I am trying to figure out the logistics of this new law in Bahrain and out of personal interest because I am going to be starting my own blog here soon. I just dont understand the practicalities of this and I am not sure they do either.

  41. mahmood says:

    Re(3): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    The Press Law (Law 47) clearly states that an EDITOR (webmaster) is fully responsible for what is printed in his paper/magazine and now website. End of story as far as the government is concerned. That is exactly the law they have applied in the case of bahrainonline.org and it is the law that they want to continue to apply onto anything and anyone who disagrees with their rosy view of Bahrain.

  42. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    As well as this idiotic law, if you ever get arrested Mahmood, [url=http://www.alwasatnews.com/topic.asp?tID=44716&mydate=4-25-2005]we WON’T be able to campaign for you either![/url]

    Bahrania

  43. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    I’ve read that, and on the face of it I agreed with it. I must admit that I didn’t think of it as you portrayed, so thanks for bringing it up. What you said in your post if very very important for people to understand and look at the big picture to arrive at a conclusion. I can’t help but think that if the flurry of these laws in the last few days are coordinated, then someone in government far exceeds Einstein in brain powers, or at least a chess mega-grand master.

  44. mahmood says:

    Reporters Without Borders denounces press freedom threat in website registration

    Reporters Without Borders voiced alarm at Bahrain’s decision announced on 24 April 2005 to oblige all websites dealing with the country to register with the ministry of Information. “This does not happen in any democratic country and is a threat to press freedom,” the organisation said.

    Announcing the step, the information ministry said websites had six months from 2 May to register. The ministry’s head of press and publications, Jamal Dawood, who drew up the administrative act, told Reporters Without Borders, “This is not a repressive step. On the contrary it is intended to protect people running websites, who in future will be able to protect their rights of authorship.”

    “Registration will be automatic and no-one will be turned down whatever the content.” The name, address and telephone number of site administrators would be required on registration. It would be free and there would be no need for any financial guarantees.

    Dawood admitted that he did not know what a weblog was, but said that even personal websites would have to comply with the new procedure. He added that it would not be possible to register online and registration would have to be done directly at the information ministry. After each registration was validated, the person in charge would receive an ID number that would have to be posted on the site.

    “Many online publications, such as forums or weblogs, allow Internet-users an easy means of posting an article or remarks,” Reporters Without Borders pointed out. “The demand for a single administrator to be named for each website is therefore completely inappropriate for the Internet.”

    “This decision will intimidate online editors and push them into cutting back on their publication’s interactive aspects”, the organisation added.

    Mansur Al Jamri, editor of the Bahraini daily Al Wasat told Reporters Without Borders that the measure was a “double-edge sword”.

    “It is to be expected that defamation and insult should be banned on the Internet,” he said. “However the information ministry’s action could jeopardise freedom of expression. Website editors and forum moderators will become 100 percent responsible for the content of the site, in the same way as a newspaper editor.”

    italics by me

  45. 7alaylia says:

    Re(4): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    I can clearly see what a devistating blow they could then strike against websites and blogs in Bahrain considering this. I remember with the bahrainonline incident an international group of bloggers got together to protest. Are they going to get involved this time as well? It would seem to me that bloggers from all over the world need to stand up for each other and oppose measures such as this.

    I have spent sometime reading blogs in the last few months. The one from Saudi called “Religious Policeman” is one of my favourites, again inactive due to fears of persecution from the authorities. I think authorities rightly fear the kind of pressure that can be immidiately brought to bear when they enact such naff measures.

    This is a new world, it is time people catch up or get run over.

  46. Reem says:

    Re(2): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    In my utter confusion, and desire to keep things short, I wasn’t clear in my post.
    I would like to clarify my point.

    1. I did not blame the US for any of this.
    What I did mean to say was that this recent proposal would not go well with our international allies, yes, the US. Under the FSF strategy, they are promoting democracy in the middle east, and I think you can agree that this recent proposal goes against democracy, free speech, civil liberties, etc. So in actual fact, I was hoping that some international pressure would scrap this proposal.

    2. When referring to total control, I didnt not mean the US, I did mean the local government.
    All i meant to say was that this recent proposal, combined with others such as the SmartCard, are threatning our civil liberties, livlihood, including what most of us should cherish, our PRIVACY…
    Now I know what some would say, they’ve always had total information, so what difference would it make to turn that information into digital format and distribute it around the world? And my answer is, I don’t have the time or space here to start lecturing on dangers of such a proposal!

    3. Thanks for the vote of confidence Mahmood… 🙂 I guess Steve’s looking for someone to replace Malik 😛 hehe .. only time will tell…

    If i’ve missed anything, let me know, I’d be more than happy to discuss things…

  47. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    If free blogs are outlawed, only outlaws will freely blog.

    Steve

  48. Reem says:

    Re(3): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    Malik,

    self-censorship indeed!!! can you begin to imagine what will become of us down the line?

    If you were to combine the powers behind the repositories generated from a National ID SmartCard, the eminent spread of CCTVs, this recent proposal, the anti-terror proposal and the many more that will follow, you will get the epitome of what Foucault envisioned regarding Bentham’s Panopticon.

    Whether you (the general you) like it or not, this is about control, power, surveillance, and social sorting. The culmination of these proposal affects the symmetry of the power relationship, hence increasing the power of the watcher over the subject, accumulating profiles of behaviour and imposing social control, conformity and almost obliterating deviant behaviour.

    Call it a conspiracy theory if that makes you feel better, but this is the bleak reality if measures are not put in place to stop such ‘brainfarts’.

  49. lion_drak says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    heh i don’t think they’re serious about this. They announced this to put Bahrainis from starting websites that may have “controversial” views. There is no way they can track every website on the internet though. It is just impossible.

    One other thing and I said this before, if you think your website contains “controversial” stuff many domain name registrars offer a privacy option to hide the WHOIS info from “preying eyes”. Do a Google search with the following keywords “domain name privacy Hide whoisâ€? . The only way to track you is through a US court order and that is impossible if your site does not break any us law or your WHOIS record.

    This is so embarrassing. We always brag about being an open-minded country compared to our neighbors. I wish I didn’t come to your website today and read this. Bad start of the day 🙁

  50. mahmood says:

    Thank you for your support… we need more.

    Political societies have been discussing this issue, with the four boycotting societies taking the correct opposition view warning the government not to use this as yet another nail in our young democracy’s coffin, while the pro-government societies siding completely with the government, scoffing our fears of governmental control as “making a mountain of a mole hill” and “if we didn’t steal then we shouldn’t be worried” attitude, failing miserably to realise how stifling this “registration” requirement is to the necessary creativity and dynamism of the internet and internet based businesses. It is as if they are refusing to attribute part of the blame regarding the internet juggernaut passing the Arab world as a whole to the red tape rather than the red carpet syndrome prevalent in our illustrious governments.

    As far as I am concerned, this issue is far reaching, it is about governmental control and it is far less innocent as the government and Jamal Dawood and his lot would want us to believe. It is symptomatic of how a meddling middle-manager could derail the work and sweat of thousands, least of which are our king and the crown prince’s initiatives.

    And this happening as Amira Al-Hussaini said, on a day where we should be celebrating books, reading and writing; it being the international book day. And coincidentally, the government yesterday accepted the International Economic & Political Rights agreements to the parliament for ratification.

    What ticks me off about this scenario as well is that this policy of requiring website registration, having far reaching effects, should not have come out from a low/middle-manager like Jamal Dawood, or even the highest authority at the Ministry of Information, with all due respect of course, as it is an executive body. This strategy should have come from the Parliament as it is their role to legislate.

    Only international pressure will force the government to rescind this regressive order. Regardless of what they do with this newest faux pas, they should make an example of its instigator to warn all low/middle/high government managers to toe the line and leave legislation to the parliament and all they should do is execute within the spirit of laws, always keeping in mind the good reputation of Bahrain, work effortlessly to bring businesses here and alleviate the various problems of unemployment, rather than exacerbate them as Jamal Dawood and Mahmood Al-Mahmood have done.

    I vote for both of these gentlemen’s resignation. If they don’t by themselves, the government should most certainly fire them. They are both dead wood still thinking with the “state security” mentality rather than what our crown prince is espousing: turn red tape to red carpet. They are a hindrance rather than help in this critical era of our history, and they have also amply demonstrated their complete misunderstanding of the internet, a understanding critical in executing their job.

    Here are a couple of articles published in this morning edition of the GDN:

    Website clamp a step backwards
    Webmasters clamp ‘can prevent libel’

  51. kategirl says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    After each registration was validated, the person in charge would receive an ID number that would have to be posted on the site.

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read this. Brilliant minds, I tell you.

  52. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    bahraincensor.blogspot.com
    bahraincensor.blogspirit.com

  53. 7alaylia says:

    Re: Thank you for your support… we need more.

    [quote]And this happening as Amira Al-Hussaini said, on a day where we should be celebrating books, reading and writing; it being the international book day. [/quote]

    I am kind of getting into this issue behind the eight ball having not been here for awhile. I think Mahmood points out what is a grave issue for the Middle East here. It was noted in a recent khutba here that Greece translated more works into their language than the Arab world did last year. There are 300 million Arabic readers in the world. I think the problem is that the people and the governments of the area do not really have a culture that encourages such things at the moment. It is said that for a book to become famous in the Middle East one must sell only 5,000-10,000 copies. The culture must be guided back to respecting words and speech. If you do not respect the written word it becomes much easier to then ban it or control it.

    Mahmood, does the registration of websites include business websites or just personal sites? I commend you for refusing to register your personal site. If this extends to business are you going to refuse to register that site as well? Will requiring businesses to register sites adversely affect commerce in Bahrain?

    BTW……thanks for letting me back on the blog. I appreciate it.

  54. bahraincensorship says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    bahraincensor.blogspot.com – updated

    —————
    bahraincensorship.blogspot.com
    bahrainicensorship.blogspot.com
    bahraincensorshit.blogspot.com
    bahrainicensorshit.blogspot.com

    all of the above have been registered. Now i need a way as to how these blogs can be easily updated, instead of having to post each one – 4 times around.

    I don’t know how to use blogspirit.com 🙁 but thanks for the idea 🙂

  55. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    speechless. gobsmacked. this is beyond absurdity.

  56. esraa says:

    Reem

    Are you relating the Bahraini government’s desire to control the minds and blogs of its people to the USA? Could you clarify because I think there is a misunderstanding.

    On another note, here’s one chick in Qatar that is with you guys 100%.

    Salaam Alaikum,
    PM

  57. bahraincensorship says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    something like a commercial registration, only this time a web registration 😀

    sorry, they don’t know what they’re doing, God please forgive them!

    Atleast 5 friends that I know of personally will not register their websites, one is a muharraq fans website, a bahraini cars website, manga website by bahraini students, bahrain’s rockers forums and a taekwondo website.

    Jamal Dawood: what kind of a message are you trying to send out to the students in Bahrain with this stinking number you’ve pulled on everyone this time? This month’s issue of COEDs carried an article by Amal Sorani about blogs and their popularity catching up with today’s youth, an indirect way of encouraging students to start blogging and discovering their hidden talents. As an official in charge of press and publications, how is it that you Jamal approved the publication of the COEDs magazine which did run the article of blogging yet you never informed them at the time that personal websites including blogs will need to be registered with your ministry?

    And just to inform you that you’re up against atleast 10,000 university students, let alone all other bloggers and owners of websites, so it would be advisable for you to save your face and leave now or be ‘transferred’ in another typical ministry shuffle up.

  58. bahraincensorship says:

    Re: Reporters Without Borders denounces press freedom threat in website registration

    Coverage by [url=http://www.indexonline.org/en/indexindex/articles/2005/2/bahrain-website-registration-order-raises-ce.shtml]Index on Censorship[/url] based in the UK – 26.04.2005

  59. mohd says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Check what’s Behind Door No. 2

  60. chalk66x says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Thers not much I can offer but general support. This is what I posted on Alamogordotigers.net

    I hope this is of interest to you. The following is from Mahmoods Den in Bahrain. Seems like everytime a step is taken forward towards democracy in the middle east another is taken backwards. Since we graduates live all over the country please call or write your congressman about this. If we can spent 300B on one country the least we can do is spend the price of a phone call or a stamp to help protect the freedom of speech in another.

    billT

  61. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re(1): Thank you for your support… we need more.

    Welcome back, Malik.

    Steve

  62. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Registering websites in order to regulate them will be like trying to nail down water on the beach to stop the tide.

    Steve

  63. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance”
    This is not insignificant. If you believe that you can hide behind the numbers of blogs in existence, and that the government can’t find them all, don’t worry. They don’t need to. They can monitor the websites and pick a few that are unregistered, small, individuals at random and arrest them. The idea is the same as the concept of decimation–which was a Roman custom of lining up ranks of dissenters or prisoners and simply killing at random every tenth one. ( Often by crucifiction) It tends to keep the others in line.
    Desert Island Boy has it correct when he notes that a democracy cannot flourish in an atmosphere in which the national wealth resides in the hands of a few. Those in power will do whatever it takes to control “the masses”. Whatever a form of government is called, it can’t be a democracy unless:
    1) Every individual has the expectation of the possibility that his work and intelligence will allow him to improve his life, across the board, regardless of birth or economic status in the beginning.
    2)Rule of law as it is applied, is seen to be just, and not subject to favoritism due to economic or political status. Yeah, that one gets bent and stretched here, too
    3) Everyone can freely criticize the government, local and national without fear of reprisal.
    I realize that this is an ideal situation, and it gets violated, not only by people of political means, but one’s peers, as well. As an example:
    There is a large popular movement to create a national constitutional amendment banning, under national law the burning or descecration of the American flag. Most of the veterans I’ve talked to become furious about this issue, and miss the point. They tell you that they fought and their buddies died for that flag, and no long-haired hippy is going to get away with that on their watch. I try to point out that what they fought for was precisely that principle–the right to carry dissent even that far, because that is what democracy is. Some come to understand my point, some do not.
    I can’t do much good for your cause there, except to ecouurage you to keep up the good work, and to try to do what I can to keep the ideals of liberty on track in my own neighborhood.

    You’ll get this as anomynous because apparently I have my password wrong, or because, though I’ve been registered with you for some time, I’ve not posted anything.
    I’m Jud from Arizona, not all that far from Las Vegas, and Hell, California.

  64. mahmood says:

    دعوة إلى إصدار ميثاق شرÙ? اخلاقي للحد من السب والقذÙ?

    تباين الآراء بشأن قرار “الإعلام” تسجيل المواقع الإلكترونية

    الوسط – علي العليوات
    رÙ?ض عدد من أصحاب المواقع الإلكترونية القرار الذي أعلنته إدارة المطبوعات والنشر بوزارة الإعلام تسجيل المواقع الالكترونية التي تم إطلاقها من داخل مملكة البحرين أو تلك التي أنشئت من خارج البحرين وتتصل بشئون المملكة سواء الÙ?نية أو الرياضية أو الدينية أو السياسية وغيرها، وذلك من خلال حملة وطنية واسعة اعتبارا من يوم الاثنين المقبل 2 مايو/ أيار وتستمر لمدة ستة أشهر.

    وعلمت “الوسط” من مصادر مطلعة بأن شبه اتÙ?اق تم بين عدد من أصحاب المواقع الإلكترونية Ù?ÙŠ البحرين للامتناع عن تسجيل مواقعهم لدى وزارة الإعلام، لأنهم يرون أن القرار يحد من حرية التعبير عن الرأي.

    واعتبر أحد المهتمين بالمواقع الإلكترونية توÙ?يق الرياش “قرار إدارة المطبوعات والنشر تسجيل المواقع الإلكترونية أمر خطير وغير مسبوق Ù?ÙŠ أي دولة من دول العالم، إذ لا توجد أي دولة تلزم مواطنيها بتسجيل مواقعهم الإلكترونية على شبكة الإنترنت”ØŒ منوها بأن “بعض الدول تعمد إلى تسجيل المواقع التجارية Ù?قط التي تحتوي على تعاملات مالية”.

    ورأى الرياش أن “هذا القرار هو تطبيق لقانون الصحاÙ?Ø© المجمد ولكن بصورة أخرى، على رغم أن المواقع الإلكترونية استثنيت منه، واعتقد أن هذا القرار هو تÙ?عيل لقانون امن الدولة من جديد عن طريق الحد من حرية التعبير عن الرأي Ù?ÙŠ المواقع الإلكترونية، Ù?هي بالتالي خطوة تراجعية لا تتناسب مع أجواء الانÙ?تاح الذي تشهده مملكة البحرين“.

    وبالسؤال عن الهدÙ? من وراء هذا القانون، أجاب الرياش: “الهدÙ? منه هو التحكم Ù?ÙŠ المواقع الإلكترونية أكثر مما هو ضبط للأمور الأخلاقية Ù?يها، وأتمنى أن تطرح وزارة الإعلام ميثاق شرÙ? أخلاقي للمواقع الإلكترونية Ø£Ù?ضل من طرحها مثل هذه القيود، وبناء على هذا الميثاق يلتزم أصحاب المواقع الإلكترونية بعدم السب أو القذÙ? مع عدم الحد من حرية التعبير”ØŒ مشيرا إلى “ميثاق الشرÙ? الأخلاقي الذي وضعته جمعية الإنترنت البحرينية التي أوقÙ? إشهارها لأسباب غير واضحة”.

    ويتضمن ميثاق الشرÙ? الأخلاقي الذي وضعته الجمعية الكثير من النقاط التي تساعد على الاستخدام الأخلاقي لشبكة الإنترنت، وينص على “أن Ù…Ù?هوم الانترنت ÙŠÙ?ترض أساسا نشوء مسئولية اجتماعية أخلاقية لحل المشكلات التي يعاني منها الإنسان وبشكل ودي على أساس التÙ?اهم المتبادل، ومن الضروري التصدي لهذه المسئولية المشتركة عبر التعاون من أجل الاتÙ?اق على المصطلحات العلمية بلغات مختلÙ?Ø©ØŒ واعتماد معايير أخلاقية للكتابة Ù?ÙŠ الإنترنت، وتكريس أسس جديدة لحماية شبكة الانترنت العالمية من التلوث الأخلاقي قدر المستطاع”.

    وما يتضمنه ميثاق شرÙ? الجمعية “ان الحÙ?اظ على الخصوصية من أهم المبادئ الأخلاقية لمجتمع المعلومات، وان ضمان وجود شبكة عالمية آمنة تحاÙ?ظ على خصوصية مستخدميها يظل هدÙ?ا أعلى لبناء شبكة متماسكة ومستقرة. إن حماية حق الملكية الÙ?كرية من أهم المشكلات الأخلاقية التي يواجهها مجتمع المعلومات العربي، وهو حق لا يمكن تجاوزه أو اختراقه أو الاعتداء عليه، ذلك أنه الأساس Ù?ÙŠ أية تنمية مستقبلية للعمل الÙ?كري والإبداعي والبرمجي المنظم Ù?ÙŠ عالم المعلومات الرقمي العربي“.

    وطالب الرياش من وزارة الإعلام “التحكم Ù?ÙŠ المواقع الإلكترونية اللاأخلاقية Ù?ÙŠ البحرين، وتوÙ?ير برامج دعم للتحكم Ù?ÙŠ المحتوى الأخلاقي الإلكتروني على غرار ما هو موجود Ù?ÙŠ دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة”ØŒ معتبرا ذلك “Ø£Ù?ضل من إصدار قرارات لا تتناسب مع روح العصر”.

    إلى ذلك اعتبر مدير موقع قرآن نت الإلكتروني ونائب رئيس شركة الزيداني للتطوير الإلكتروني للأعمال حسين يوسÙ? “قرار وزارة الإعلام غير موÙ?Ù‚ ولا يخدم الحركة التجارية Ù?ÙŠ البحرين، Ù?هناك آلاÙ? المواقع الإلكترونية Ù?ÙŠ البحرين مسجلة Ù?ÙŠ وزارة التجارة، وهناك عشرات المواقع الإلكترونية الخاصة بمؤسسات المجتمع مرخصة Ù?ÙŠ وزارة الشئون الاجتماعية، Ù?ليس من المنطقي أن تعود هذه المواقع للحصول على تصريح آخر من وزارة الإعلام”.

    وقال يوسÙ?: “هناك تشريع سيصدر يسمح للشركات والمؤسسات ممارسة أنشطة استثمارية تجارية على شبكة الإنترنت، Ù?قرار وزارة الإعلام يتناقض مع هذا التشريع، بالإضاÙ?Ø© إلى ذلك Ù?إن وزارة الإعلام غير مختصة بالمواقع الإلكترونية، Ù?هناك الكثير من المواقع خارج البحرين تهتم بالÙ?عاليات الدينية والاجتماعية والثقاÙ?ية والتجارية وهي ليست مواقع بحرينية وإنما هي مواقع عالمية ومن غير المنطقي دعوتها للتسجيل Ù?ÙŠ وزارة الإعلام”.

    وأضاÙ? “الوزارة لم تكشÙ? عما ستحصل عليه المواقع الإلكترونية بعد التسجيل، Ù?هل ستحصل على مزايا معينة أم أن المواقع الإلكترونية التي لن تسجل ستعاقب”.

    وذكر مدير موقع قرآن نت الإلكتروني أن “وزارة الإعلام ليست الجهة الوحيدة التي تسجل المواقع بل هناك جهات أخرى يجب تسجيل المواقع Ù?يها، ودور وزارة الإعلام يجب أن يكون Ù?ÙŠ التواصل مع الجهات العالمية التي تشرÙ? على المواقع الإلكترونية”.

    وبالسؤال عن توقعه لمدى إقبال أصحاب المواقع الإلكترونية على تسجيل مواقعهم، أجاب يوسÙ?: “مدى الإقبال يعتمد على الامتيازات التي ستقدمها الوزارة لأصحاب المواقع، Ù?يجب على الوزارة أن تطرح برنامج الامتيازات ليكون عنصر جذب نحو تسجيل المواقع”.

    ومن جانبه، قال أمين سر جمعية البحرين للإنترنت وحيد البلوشي: “إن القرار ليس بالجديد وهو مطروح منذ ثلاث سنوات، وناقشته الجمعية Ù?ÙŠ جلسة حضرها مدير إدارة المطبوعات والنشر بوزارة الإعلام جمال داوود سلمان قبل Ù?ترة، وقد تبين أن الهدÙ? من التسجيل هو إحصاء المواقع الإلكترونية البحرينية وإيجاد سجلات لها لتقديمها للمنظمات العالمية التي تهتم بمثل هذه الأمور”.
    وأشار “إذا كان الهدÙ? من التسجيل هو هدÙ? تنظيمي Ù?نحن نشجع على هذه الخطوة”.

    وبخصوص ما أثير عن تضييق القرار لحرية التعبير عن الرأي، قال البلوشي: “حرية التعبير عن الرأي مكÙ?ولة للجميع بشرط حسن اختيار الأسلوب المناسب للكتابة Ù?ÙŠ الإنترنت كما هو الحال Ù?ÙŠ الصحاÙ?Ø©”.

    وكان مدير إدارة المطبوعات والنشر جمال داوود سلمان أشار إلى أن “الحرص على تسجيل هذه المواقع يأتي انطلاقا من الأهمية Ù?ÙŠ إيجاد وتوÙ?ير المناخ المناسب للاستثمار وتحقيق التنمية الاجتماعية التي تستند إلى تطور المÙ?اهيم والنوعية بجوانب الحريات الشخصية وعوامل النهضة والازدهار”. وأوضح أن “الإجراءات التي ستتبع لتسجيل مواقع الانترنت هي التزام واستكمال للإجراءات المتبعة لتسجيل كل أنواع المطبوعات التي تتبع الوزارة بما Ù?يها الصحÙ? والنشرات والمصنÙ?ات والوسائل المرئية والمسموعة التي جميعها صنÙ?ها التشريع كوسائل للتعبير عن الرأي، وباعتبار أن شبكة الانترنت إحدى وسائل الإعلام الالكترونية ووسيلة تقنية حديثة أصبحت بدورها موضع اهتمام Ù?ÙŠ مختلÙ? دول العالم ومن بينها البحرين“.

    Al-Wasat April 27, 2005

    Basic translation is that the majority of webmasters in Bahrain are refusing to register their sites citing their concerns regarding freedoms of expression in the Kingdom and are urging the Ministry to reconsider its administrative order.

    They (the webmasters) are also suggesting that they have a “code of conduct” agreement to self sensorship.

  65. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    for how long should we let it cool down, as in how many days? (because I personally do not want to register any of my blogs nor websites) 🙂

  66. kategirl says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Yeah. My hope is that someone “up there” will realize how dumb this is and bring this affair to an end (or a reasonable solution) before any damage is done. Let’s wait until Monday at least when the government will announce all of the details of its plan and then we can decide what we want to do from there.

    In the meanwhile I’m interested in developing some sort of blogger’s rights and blogger’s code of conduct document for Bahraini bloggers. Part of the problem is that our government seems to have no idea how the Internet works, Jamal Dawood admitted he did not know what a blog is. So obviously they have no idea to legislate blogs (if we assume for now that the government has only good intentions). We, the bloggers, are the ones in the best position to help them out.

    So maybe we could work on something that would define our rights and responsibilities. Not a legal binding document, but just something to help us frame our ideas about what we think is acceptable and unacceptable (and maybe in the future the govt might look there for inspiration for legislation). Basically, I think we could be a bit more proactive in helping along the process, rather than just saying no to every idea that the govt puts forward.

    So does anyone know of any similar documents written somewhere else, that we could then customize for our particular situation in Bahrain?
    I googled around a bit found this Bloggers’ Code of Ethics. It’s not bad, but I think we would want to add a bit more about what we think constitutes slander and libel, and what is just criticism.

    Ideas, opinions?

  67. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) – has been informed so have YRO (Your Rights Online) – Slashdot!

    Awaiting their response & action soon 😉

  68. bahraincensorship says:

    Re(2): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    And I found this which i think may be of some use:

    [url=http://rights.journalspace.com/]International Bloggers’ Bill of Rights[/url]

  69. 7alaylia says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    [quote]As we can see in the US, speech is still not completely free (Except perhaps for nazis and jihadis.. thanks ACLU) but it is a lot more free than in some places. Over here, unacceptable speech can give you some social repercussions, but at least there’s no commando team with knives willing to sneak into your house and kill you in front of your kids for it. [/quote]

    Not really true. A Muslim here in the Northern Viriginia area was convicted Tuesday for telling people they should go fight against US forces in Afghanistan. Some of his followers went to Pakistan to training camps so he was convicted.

  70. anonymous says:

    Re(2): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    And you see something wrong with this? Someone in America actively campaigning to and for people to KILL Americans and wage war against the government. I don’t care if they are Muslim, Hindu Christian or Reformed Druids. That is not FREE SPEECH. Seems you think it is.

  71. khaled says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    I genuinely do not believe the authors of the constitution advocate the current MOI initiative.
    The actions of those dipsticks within the MOI, in response to some brief to [b]”Sort it out”, [/b]have created a situation that the Authors did not intend.
    Yes we should oppose this form of censorship, but what we should also do is offer a way out for them. If they support the MOI, they’ll distance themselves from their subjects. If they overturn the MOI their credibility is,at best,in question.
    We [b]do [/b]need to oppose and complain and point out injustice, [b]BUT[/b], we also need to help them.Here is a classic case of them being out of their depth.
    They want to stop vitriolic,personal,inflamtory remarks about certian persons. Fine. Let’s help them solve this in the spirit of the constitution. Our impulse is to resist and fight at every quarter. Ok that’s one way of proceeding. But less antagonistic and more likely to suceed is the path of negotiation. This is the Arab world for Heavens sake,everything is a negotiation. I think a Code of Conduct is just that compromise.
    This Blog operates under a code of conduct doesn’t it?
    If someone goes over the top Mahmood very quickly reminds posters who we are,where we are, and that politeness is a [b]must [/b]to continue to contribute.
    There are some very good minds here, lets help them out with a practical solution instead of outright opposition.

  72. 7alaylia says:

    Re(3): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    [quote]And you see something wrong with this? Someone in America actively campaigning to and for people to KILL Americans and wage war against the government. I don’t care if they are Muslim, Hindu Christian or Reformed Druids. That is not FREE SPEECH. Seems you think it is. [/quote]

    The person I quoted made a statement that made it pretty clear that Islamic radicals and fundamentalists get a free ride when it comes to freedom of speech. My comment was to show that this is not the case. However, telling people to go somewhere to do something I do not think is a crime. Legally, I believe it only becomes a crime when you actually do something to further any such plan. The words themselves are not illegal. It is only when combined with action that they then become illegal.

    With this person I think it is important to note that the only evidence used against him was the testimony of two people who agreed to give such testimony to reduce their own punishment. Such evidence I think is flawed because the people have a clear incentive to distort or even make up evidence to gain a reduction in punishment. If this is what the base evidence on which this man was convicted I think they have not done justice.

  73. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    no it is funny imo.

    face it everyone, freedom of speech has never been a thing of this country. not in newspapers or any of the websites seriously discussing the situation in here.

    you will be followed, chased, your website will be blocked by batelco, your newspaper will be threatened, and it will even reach you and your family as long as you really try the “freedom of speech” thing.

    but on the other hand, if you’re being totally useless, posting some stupid, unneeded rubbish you will be always welcome to do so. hell you’ll even get help from the government!

    the funny side is they can’t block anonymous websites. anyone can make any website from any place on earth and speak about whatever he wants. i don’t need to register this with any organization and get an ID to be able to speak about my country!

    yes, i won’t be able to say who i really am, there is no freedom of speech here and i still need to protect myself. but what’s new? you people think things have actually changed when it comes to this issue but you’d be wrong.

    you’re saying law doesn’t protect the ignorant. my friend if the law is not willing to protect you when you express your views and instead it will try to hunt you and kill you, you shouldn’t count on it to protect you.

  74. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    has there been any elaboration on what a ‘bahraini website’ is?

  75. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    The voice of reason. Yes, I completely agree with you. If we shout too loudly then they will be cornered with no where else to go but strike back in a ham-fisted way. Let’s pull back a little and see what happens. There has been good coverage in both the GDN (well done GDN, they were the only ones championing this issue since it broke) and Al-Wasat this morning. There has also been several external fronts directly asking for explanations of Dawood and Al-Mahmood as well as the local political societies.

    This is enough pressure for now… time to pull back a little and see what happens.

  76. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    I’m not sure why you did this at the moment Strav. It’s not the right time and it’s far too confrontational at this early stage. There is enough local pressure building up against the MoI, let’s just wait for a few days and see how it develops.

  77. mahmood says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    that’s the crux of the problem isn’t it? THEY don’t know!

    There ARE indications however that they have started to pull back from their position. So let’s cool it for a few days guys.

  78. Steelangel says:

    Re(4): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    [quote]However, telling people to go somewhere to do something I do not think is a crime. Legally, I believe it only becomes a crime when you actually do something to further any such plan. The words themselves are not illegal. It is only when combined with action that they then become illegal. [/quote]

    Actually, it is a crime to encourage others toward treason or sedition.

    Freedom of speech is not absolute – libel, slander, threats, exhorting murder, among other things have been shown to be unprotected speech. Like screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.

    Another famous case is that of the World Church of the Creator’s leader getting in trouble for soliciting the murder of a judge. It’s no different than soliciting others to go fight for the Taleban. Wrapping hate speech in religious garb doesn’t make it more hateful. It just makes it religious hate.

  79. anonymous says:

    Re(2): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    You mean this guy Malik? Why do you think this is “free speech”? How twisted are your views? How on God’s green earth can you even begin to defend this man? Perhpas the adage of “birds of a feather flock together” is in order.

    [b]FREE MUSLIMS APPLAUD CONVICTION OF EXTREMIST MUSLIM LEADER[/b]

    An extremist Muslim leader from Northern Virginia was convicted of inciting his
    followers to train overseas to commit violence against the United States.

    Timimi, 41, was convicted of inspiring a group of his Northern Virginia followers to
    attend terrorist training camps in Pakistan and prepare to battle American troops among
    other charges. The government’s case against Timimi was based on a meeting he attended
    on Sept. 16, 2001. According to court papers, Timimi allegedly told his followers that
    “the time had come for them to go abroad and join the mujahideen (evil doers) in violent
    jihad in Afghanistan,”.

    Nor surprisingly, many of the Muslim “leaders” in Washington DC have come to the defense
    of Tamimi by arguing that his conviction was nothing more than a witch hunt and that he
    was merely a “Muslim scholar” exercising his rights to free speech.

    The Free Muslims Against Terrorism do not share these beliefs. Ali Al-Tamimi is a well
    known extremist and he represents everything that has gone wrong with the Muslim world.
    His evil words have cast a dark cloud over the rest of the Muslim community and we are
    glad that justice was served.

    The Free Muslims Against Terrorism have argued time and time again that the Muslim
    community must not tolerate people like Ali Al-Tamimi. We strongly urge American Muslim
    organizations to read the poison that Al-Tamimi has spread in the Muslim community and
    not assume that he was unjustly accused. He is an evil man and Muslims must not wait on
    federal authorities to remove evil doers like Tamimi from our community. Moderate
    Moslems must take the initiative and discredit people like Tamimi.

    The Free Muslims Against Terrorism are pleased with the verdict against Ali Al-Tamimi.
    We are however, disappointed in the responses of some American Muslim organizations to
    his verdict. By categorizing every conviction against every Muslim as a witch hunt,
    American Muslim leaders are closing their eyes to the sad fact that we have a problem
    with extremism and that Muslims are the only ones who can defeat extremist ideologies
    from the Muslim community.

  80. bahraincensorship says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    And in today’s GDN – [url=http://gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=110539&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=28039]Webmasters are free to register[/url]

    some key points you may want to focus on:

    [quote]Information Under-Secretary Mahmood Al Mahmood said although the rules state that Bahrain websites must be registered with the ministry, it will not be actively pursuing them.

    [b]”Our goal is to encourage people to follow the legal way and a large number of websites have already registered. But we will not be actively pursuing all websites that are not registered,” he said.[/b][/quote]

    and in the next sentence:

    [quote]”It’s the same as registering a car. If your car is not registered and no one hears about it, then you won’t get into any trouble. [b]But if the authorities hear about it, then you could.”[/b][/quote]

    – just what kind of a mixed message is being sent out to the webmasters/people in Bahrain?

    [quote]
    [b]Ministry printing and publishing director[/b] Jamal Dawood said the ministry [b]has an application form that people can pick up and fill.[/b][/quote]

    oh dear, these people are going the traditional way of registering websites, that is, the old paper joke and they’re trying to register websites without a proper method of doing so! Before they start their campaign, maybe they should try implementing a web portal at the least to automate website registration applications.

    [quote]
    “They will be issued with a registration number which they should put on their home page.”[/quote]

    [url=http://www.x-cape.info/forum/index.php?showtopic=1063#]Just a day or too ago one of the members at a bahrain-based website about books posted a question about it – seems like his question has been answered. [/url]

    [quote]Mr Dawood said [b]people cannot register online at the moment because his directorate doesn’t have a website[/b]. For more information, he said people can call 17717525 or email jdawood@batelco.gov.bh[/quote]

    What? his directorate does not have a website? how so? The official is in the printing, media & publication business and they don’t even have a website? How in the world did they come up with the idea of registering websites in Bahrain, if they themselves (Ministry of printing and publishing) do not own a website yet, have not created one yet nor operate one either? So – they’re asking for a law to be implemented and one of the persons in charge here has no idea of what or how blogs work nor is equipped with the knowledge of maintaining websites!

    And the rest of the article is about Mahmood.tv 🙂

    [i] It is hoped by many website owners, forums’ members and internet users in Bahrain, that the concerned officials and those responsible for this decision reconsider it completely and atleast make the regulations sound more sensible and more meaningful.[/i]

    [Modified by: bahraincensorship (bahraincensorship) on April 28, 2005 05:49 AM]

  81. Reem says:

    AIWA MAHMOOD.TV!

    😀 I couldn’t resist… I had the biggest grin when i read this morning’s GDN… 😀

    well.. for the most part i did, but i do agree, there are quite a number of mixed messages in there!! Not to mention the sorry impression they’ve given about their knowledge of the situation, the logistics, etc…

    But the moment I read about Mahmood… 😀 that all disappeared! hehehe I’m still smiling!!
    [color=darkblue][b][size=24]You ROCK!! [/size][/b][/color]:D

    your nickname around the block seems to be the grandfather of bahraini bloggers, but ur way too [color=darkred]young, cool and savvy [/color]to be a grandpa.. 😀

    I just hope that i’m not celebrating too early…

    I do agree with the earlier posts, a code of conduct, feedback/ reputation systems might prove more effective as they’re more socially acceptable..

  82. mahmood says:

    Re: AIWA MAHMOOD.TV!

    sheesh. blush! :blush:

  83. mahmood says:

    Re(2): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Chan’ad thank for digging this one up, the list is quite good and would ensure that blogs and bloggers would remain “clean”. Let me copy and paste the Code of Conduct here and get opinions about it via comments.

  84. anonymous says:

    Re(1): AIWA MAHMOOD.TV!

    Seems you’ve been, er um, reemed. 🙂

  85. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    Mahmood.

    Respect.

    And, if I had a blog, I wouldn’t register either.

    I guess the Ministry of Disinformation had better get with the 21st century and prove to the world that they are capable of propelling our wonderful little island into the future .. its a shame they dont really understand what cyberspace is, let alone how it works.

    Great job. And keep it up. You have my 100% support. (for what that is worth!) 😉

    Jasra Jedi

  86. mohd says:

    Re: AIWA MAHMOOD.TV!

    I always thought it was Mahmood, [b]GOD[/b]father of Bahrain Blogging…

    …And he made the MoI an Offer they just couldn’t REFUSE!

  87. [deleted]0.75077700 1099323158.648 says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    One thought…

    If I post something on a registered Bahraini site, and it is ofensive to the Powers-That-Be….will they come all the way to South America to fetch me? That could get expensive! 🙂

    BTW, I got home OK. Long trip, still jet lagged! Mahmood, again, thank you for your hospitality!! Right now, you are the beacon of light for the Blogging Community, and I am proud to have met you and shared some time with you! Chin up and hang in there (…grandpa…)! (chuckle, chuckle)

    P!

  88. 7alaylia says:

    Re(3): Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    [quote]You mean this guy Malik? Why do you think this is “free speech”? How twisted are your views? How on God’s green earth can you even begin to defend this man? Perhpas the adage of “birds of a feather flock together” is in order. [/quote]

    I am not a supporter of this man. I do not know him from Adam really. My point is, and was, that this man was convicted based on the statements of a couple of other men who were doing nothing more than looking for a “get out of jail free card.” How do I know this? Because my wife’s family is long time friends with the family of one of the men who was doing all of this. He got into what he felt was hot water and started saying whatever the authorities wanted to hear to try and get himself out of his issues. This young man is directly responsible for sending more than half a dozen men to prison for lengthy periods of time on what was pretty weak evidence.

    It is interesting that I inquired to a organisation where a lot of these things centered around after all of this came down. I asked them for their views on this young man who was responsible for bringing so much grief to their lives. I wanted to know if it was true that the son of a man I respected so much could have done such a thing, and second I wanted to know how the families and the people involved viewed this man. I expected a lot of scorn and anger. I was surprised when I found the leaders of the organisation calling for calm, for no retribution against the young man and his family, and for forgiveness. I was dumbfounded. This man was directly responsible for putting several young men in prison for the rest of their lives and they were calling for peace and forgiveness.

    The man who I know personally who worked to put these men into prison to save his own skin is a good example to warn people against extremism. He came from a good family here in the metro DC area. His family is of Palestinian background and his father is a well respected businessman and respected elder in the local Muslim community. His father was my father in law’s best friend for over 20 years and was actually the wali for my wife at our wedding.

    He led the typical American life as a teenager. He was a party animal in his school years. He drank, womanised, did the whole bit. In college he was involved in an incident where a best friend of his died due to doing these things. He changed completely. He went from being the typical party animal American university kid to being the Palestinian religious extremist. He couldnt see that his own religion demanded of him the middle of the road. He was expected not to be a party animal nor an extremist. He couldnt see it.

    I think most of the young men that got caught up in the “Northern Virginia Paintball Jihad” incident were completely harmless, no matter what the federal government says. Here was a group of young men, some born Muslims, some American converts, who were really worried of a Bosnia style pogrom against Muslims here in the USA post 9/11.

    The young man I am talking about was arrested by the police and threatened by the police with a huge prison sentence unless he gave information about these guys. Most of them had done nothing and a few of them were actually convicted under obscure American laws. 99% of the evidence, like I said, consisted of nothing more than “he said-she said,” of the men charged and those trying to save their own skins by saying whatever the government thought it needed to hear.

    I saw the young man a few months before all of this came down. He had toned down his extremism. I remember my wife and I got into a talk with him and his father about music. My wife and I fully expected him to ramble on about how music is “haraam” or forbidden, but he didnt. We thought maybe he had seen the light at the end of the tunnel and would get out of this extremism he had fallen into. He seems that he did, but not in the way we had hoped for.

    Again, I think this man was guilty of doing nothing more than saying stupid things, if he said them at all. The charges, again, were based on the evidence provided by young men looking to save their own skin. I do not think his words, in and of themselves, were a crime. In the USA for their to be a conspiracy it must involve more than words. This man must have actively down something to facilitate his statements. I do not believe the government proved this, nor do I believe their evidence was reliable.

    Do I know this al Tamimi? No I do not. Do I support the things he is accused of saying? No I do not. I do not support this “Free Muslim” group here in the metro DC either. I have seen this Kamal Nawash speak that heads up the group. He came to the mosque to try and garner support from people for his election bid. How he planned to do this I do not know when he made it clear he was not a practicing Muslim. Either way, he lost the election. Ahsan.

    This whole incident I think showed us how American laws are flawed, where men trying to save their own skins can convict others, regardless of guilt. I also think it is a good example to point at to steer other young Muslims away from extremism. Extremism will get you nowhere. We are Americans, we are here to stay. Time for the Muslim community to fully, 100%, involve themselves in the American community as Americans, not as outsiders.

    [Modified by: Malik (celticview) on May 02, 2005 06:49 AM]

  89. anonymous says:

    The Blogging article by Amal Sorani

    Hello everybody,

    This is just to let you know that Amal Sorani is a freelance writer who has nothing to do with authorities and everything to do with freedom of speech and freedom of thought. The article she wrote encourages people to blog while authorities would like to clam shut everyone’s mouths and brains

  90. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    would that be the article in COEDs?

    -strav.

  91. mahmood says:

    Re: The Blogging article by Amal Sorani

    Who’s Amal Sorani and what article are you talking about? Links? Information?

  92. anonymous says:

    the blogging article by Amal Sorani

    hey everybody,

    the ministry of information needs an overhaul, unfortunately we live in a country that has no sense of the word “freedom”, whether it was of thought or of publishing.
    in an earlier post there was something about the article in CO-EDs about blogging, written by the INDEPENDENT , FREE_LANCE writer Amal SOrani, who is trying to get people to blog some more and express their opinions as that is their God-given right.
    She has nothing to do with authorities or their archaic thoughts of “registering” a web-site.
    I recommend you go back to your copy of CO_EDs and read what she has written, instead of condemming her and categorizing her with people who have no brains…

    soulsearch:)
    p.s. To Mahmood, I think your den ROCKS…:)

  93. anonymous says:

    Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    hey everybody,

    I would just like to say that your blog mahmood is amazing. I especially liked the diverse show of opinions, I read stuff from a rape protecting “device” to George galloway to Iraq to Uzbekistan. I especially like the comments you post, in addition to peacefulmuslimah, to strav, and chan’ad. you guys are cool. I stumbled upon your blog by accident when I saw my name in it. But I have become an addict to your site. I keep coming back to read what everybosy is thinking.
    Great job on the BBC interview!! Good Luck

    AS

  94. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re: Freedom of Speech my big toe!

    AS,

    Why don’t you register and join in?

    Steve

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