Another journalist in the dock due to Bahrain’s press laws

30 May, '05

They originally said that they will not use the infamous Law 47 of 2002 (arabic)and it’s “just administrative”, however we continue to see journalists being gagged using this archaic and unfair law.

In this particular instance, the journalist submitted reports to a “foreign” newspaper without being registered as a foreign correspondent with the Ministry of Information. Therefore, the Ministry took umbrage with his activities and presented him to the public prosecutor under Law 47.

Other than this process and its associated law is against the essence of human rights and the freedoms of expression, does that now mean that a Bahraini needs the Ministry’s permission and registration just just to comments let alone write an article on any “foreign” or local website, or comment or write an article as an individual Bahraini citizen in a foreign publication?

What if that Bahraini citizen was to publish important scientific research? Would she still require that permission?

What about a child submitting a drawing in an international competition? Does he require permission? What if he doesn’t get it in time and goes ahead and submits, does the mother goes to prison?

What about a businessman who is trying to bring much needed investment into the Kingdom by writing articles, and presenting in seminars and exhibitions? Does he need to have permission?

Does the Ministry of Information have any more rules and regulations in its drawers that would further stifle investment and thought? Because to me, this seem to be their mission statement.

I just want to know really. Just out of interest, you see.

And the parliament, where are they from all this? I sent 40 of these “esteemed” MPs an email last night, only to receive 31 rejection notices because they exceeded their quota. They’ve exceeded their quota since they were elected, they might as well have an expiry date for a nameplate in their chamber!

update names of MPs whose email bounced are listed below:

For the record, here are the names of the MPs whose email was not rejected (no guarantee that they have received it or read it, no one contacted me yet, but at least there was no error and giving them the benefit of the doubt, they might actually check their email boxes from time to time as they are NOT over quota):

Abdulhadi Ahmed Isa Marhoon
Adel Abdulrahman Jassim Al-Moawdah
Ahmed Hussain Ibrahim Abbas
Dr. Ali Ahmed Abdulla Ali
Hamad Khalil Al-Muhanadi
Mohammed Hussain Ahmed Al-Khayyat

Following are the Members of Parliament whose email box is overflowing and probably don’t bother checking it. Being “representatives of the people” doesn’t mean that they actually have to listen to us:

Abbas Hassan Ibrahim Salman
Abdulaziz Abdulla Mohammed Al-Mousa
Abdulaziz Jalal Al-Meer
Abdulla Ja’afar Ahmed Al-A’ali
Abdulla Khalaf Rashed Al-Dossery
Abdulnabi Salman Ahmed Nasser
Ahmed Abdulla Ahmed Hajji
Ahmed Ibrahim Mahmood Behzad
Ali Mohammed Abdulla Mattar
Ali Mohammed Ali Al-Samahiji
Dr. Abdullatif Ahmed Al-Shaikh Mohammed Saleh
Dr. Ibrahim Yousif Abdulla
Dr. Isa Jassim Mohammed Al-Motawa
Dr. Sa’adi Mohammed Abdulla Ali
Dr. Salah Ali Mohammed Abdulrahman
Farid Ghazi Jassim Rafi’
Ghanim Fadhl Ghanim Al-Buainain
Hassan Eid Rashed Bukhammas
Isa Ahmed Abu Al-Fateh
Isa Hassan Abdulrasool Bin-Rajab
Jassim Ahmed Abdulkarim Al-Saidi
Jassim Hassan Yousif Abdula’al
Jassim Mohammed Jassim Al-Mowali
Jihad Hassan Ibrahim Bukamal
Khalifa Ahmed Khalifa Al-Dhahrani
Mohammed Abdulla Abdulla Al-Shaikh Ja’afar Al-Abbas
Mohammed Faihan Saleh Al-Dossery
Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Ka’abi
Mohammed Khalid Ibrahim Mohammed
Othman Mohammed Sharif Al-Rayyis
Sameer Abdulla Ahmed Al-Shuwaikh
Sami Muhsin Mohammed Al-Buhairi
Yousif Hussain Ahmed Al-Harmi
Yousif Zain-Alabedeen Mohammed Zainal

You can count them, 34 don’t bother to check their email, while only 6 appear to.

Dispicable… I actually forgot to email the chairman of the council last night and just emailed him 5 minutes ago, only to be rejected, just like the others. A sample of the rejection email is:

———————————————————————————
The message you sent to nuwab.gov.bh/kaldahrani was rejected because the quota for the mailbox has been exceeded.

The subject of the message follows:
Subject: On the BBC Arabic Service

———————————————————————————

And these people are actually standing for the next election? They should declare their intention now that they would not DARE stand again, not even to manage a petrol station!

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Comments (6)

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  1. KhalidSaad says:

    Another journalist in the dock due to Bahrain’s press laws

    This ministry needs to be dissolved just like other countries did, it’s just provin useless over and over again and is just a hinder to development rather than a catalyst. Part of this reform process is definately to abolish this.

  2. mohamed_al_aini says:

    Another journalist in the dock due to Bahrain’s press laws

    I really dismayed by this rotten practices.It hurts only their institutions and reputations.Stop all kind of censorship!!

  3. mohd says:

    The Freedom to express myself to the Toliet Bowl

    I’m a dumb-ass for not actually reading Law 47, which has NINETY-SIX articles, any and all of which any and all of us could have run afoul of. Here’s some commentary when Law 47 first came out. (it was originally in pdf, but took too long to load)

    It mentions an editor of Akhbar Al Khaleej, who said (at the time) that it would be an improvement on the 1979 press law. He did mention an Association of Journalists which would handle matters, although I can’t tell yet whether thier jurisdiction over press matters will circumvent the criminal court. (Obviously not…)

    The Blogger Code of Ethics is form of peer review, which I suppose most journalists would heartily agree to.

    What does it say when it is easier in Bahrain to build till you run out of land, pave roads right through villages, suck the land dry of its clean water sources, pollute an entire bay but you can’t express an opinion without filling out reams of forms? You’d use more paper to seek permission to express yourself than in actually expressing yourself! Government Logic!

    I guess we have the freedom to say anything, except at a time and place of THEIR choosing. I’ll be spending the rest of the afternoon talking to my commode now, thank you very much.

    Sometimes I wonder if we haven’t gone about this thing backwards. The first thing that needed to be done was to reform the judiciary, then the media and finally the electorate. That would have soiled some thobes now wouldn’t it?

  4. mahmood says:

    Re: The Freedom to express myself to the Toliet Bowl

    Ironic when the very same person who defended the law (Anwar Abdulrahman) was the FIRST person to fall foul of it! He was dragged into court because of him commenting on Badriya Rabi’a’s case who mounted a hunger strike in front of the Courts building in the Diplomatic Area protesting the Shari’a laws which robbed her of her children. Completely unfairly.

    So I’m glad his words (kiss ass normally and at the best of time) have come to bite him in his ass.

    As for the reformation “experiment,” although I know very high up people who passionately believe in it, and advocate patience for its implementation, I fear that with all of what has happened over the past couple of years especially, there doesn’t seem to be any real political will to fix the situation, which leads not just me, but a lot of others I have talked to that this could be viewed as a sham and showmanship.

    There are several things which support this view: arbitrary arrests of people for expressing their opinions, the absolute refusal to discuss and amend the Constitution – as if it too descended from Heaven – the absolute refusal to deal with victims of state sponsored thuggery, refusal to reform the judiciary, refusal to hold public officials responsible for corruption, refusal to put the very same corrupt officials in front of a court of justice, and various other incidents.

    We need the political will from the very top to start fixing this situation, but unfortunately the fix must be parallelised on several fronts, it won’t do any good to fix one thing and then move onto the next.

    This is going to hurt, very badly, but if the end result we reach our own version of utopia, at least in as much as national unity, the end to sectarianism, and the respect for laws which are applied evenly across the board and respect for human rights. I’d give my right arm for that. And then some.

  5. khaled says:

    Another journalist in the dock due to Bahrain’s press laws

    What are the Ministry of Information doing? Eh?
    I’ll tell you what they’re doing. They are proving their worth. They’re displaying their astuteness.
    They are demostrating their ability to impose the law within the words of the constitution.
    They are saying “Look! Look! we are worth keeping!” “You do need us, this illigal journo was telling the Kuwaitis about you, and we stopped him!” “Keep us! You really really need us!”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, allow yourselves a lung full of air and fully enjoy the spectacle of a useless,talentless,archaic,expensive,sorry excuse for a Ministry, twitch and wince as it recieves truth upon truth directly to it’s very existance.

    “He didn’t register with us……”

    IS THAT IT???

    Come come friends, we know what this is. This is a time to be thinking about them in the past tense. Let’s focus on how their duties would be shared out. What will happen to T.V.? Who will get press and publications??

    Many people will have to be found work elsewhere. The technicians and maintenance guys, the whole ship will have to be sucked in somehow. Early retirement packages, that are generous and genuinly reflect what for some of them is a lifetime of service.

    This is not a time for childish rants about how crap they are, it is now that we start to consider the very real issue of [b]how it dies[/b].
    On the one hand “Hurrah. They’re finally doing us the good grace to just kiss off.”
    On the other they gotta go somewhere. I think anyone with ambition to own their own Radio Station would have no problem picking up a number of reasonably trained guys,the administration to support it, premises. It could be brilliant, entertaining, informative……

    There’s much to do ….

    Chins up please, we are Bahraini you know!

  6. mahmood says:

    Re: Another journalist in the dock due to Bahrain’s press laws

    Could very well be! Very feasable actually, holding on to their seats until they die, rot and then only move out when their sons, duaghters, wives take over that particular position!

    Ironically, the Minister of Information and Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohammed Abdulghaffar is quoted as saying: “We believe that the traditional interpretation of censorship has become obsolete, because most publications now are available through multiple media, but that doesn’t mean that we allow the entry of material which are against our religion and our community values which we are proud of

    translated from Al-Wasat’s “They Said” bubble on the back page of May 31st, 2005 issue

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