Bahrain blocks Web sites over election case

31 Oct, '06

MANAMA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Bahrain has blocked several Web sites for violating a reporting ban in the case of a government adviser who was deported after alleging election irregularities.

Authorities imposed a ban on publishing information about the case of the adviser, British citizen Salah al-Bander, who was sacked and deported to Britain in September for what a minister said was an attempt to foment civil strife in the Gulf state.

The case, known as Bandergate, initially made headlines in the country which is due to hold parliamentary and municipal elections on Nov. 25. Officials say the reporting ban was imposed to ensure an impartial investigation.

“The information ministry has decided to close a number of Bahraini and foreign Web sites … These sites transgressed a legal decision prohibiting the discussion of the case of the accused Salah al-Bander,” Hassan Oun, director of press and publications at the ministry, said in a statement.

“The information ministry will refer the owners of these sites to the judges for not cooperating and complying with the law,” said the statement obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

Among the blocked Web sites was popular Bahraini blog www.mahmood.tv which is often a forum for political debate and government criticism. It re-opened under www.alyousif.tv, with a photograph of site owner Mahmood al-Yousif wearing a gag.

“It’s unreasonable. Whether you like it or not, everybody is discussing the Bandergate issue,” Yousif told Reuters. “The main issue here is much bigger than Bandergate or registering Web sites. They’re trying to get us to rescind our public freedoms.”

An Information Ministry official, who declined to be named, said some sites were blocked because they did not register with the government. The official said the law requiring registration aimed to prevent misinformation and insults against the state.

Sectarian tensions often cast a shadow over politics in Bahrain, a U.S. ally which is ruled by Sunni Muslims but has a Shi’ite majority.

((Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; editing by Robert Woodward; +973-1752 4430; Fax + 973 17536194; Email: dubai.newsroom@reuters.com))

The story is now on the wires, that means by tomorrow morning hundreds of papers will pick it up…

and I have just been informed that the Ministry of Information has submitted cases against “websites” with the Public Prosecutor who, in turn, started its investigation over the Ministry’s claims.

I fervently hope that the Public Prosecutor will show its independence by throwing the cases out, as they should be.

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Comments (15)

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  1. i sent the news to some technology sites on the internet, lets hope our voice will be heard

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love the new picture. Did Franky have anything to do with that?

    Romster

  3. Anonymous says:

    يقول أحمد مطر
    وضعوا فوق فمي كلب حراسه
    وبنوا للكبرياء
    في دمي، سوق نخاسة
    وعلى صحوة عقلي
    أمروا التخدير أن يسكب كاسه
    ثم لما صحت
    قد أغرقني فيض النجاسة
    قيل لي
    لا تتدخل في السياسة
    stay put, the whole blogworld is behind you
    it is funny with our goverments, every time they block something, it becomes very famous, and they never learn 🙂
    best wishes

  4. mahmood says:

    thanks all, again.

    Romster, had it been, you know that it would have worked!

  5. Akkad says:

    I have just been informed that the Ministry of Information has submitted cases against “websites” with the Public Prosecutor who, in turn, started its investigation over the Ministry’s claims.

    I fervently hope that the Public Prosecutor will show its independence by throwing the cases out, as they should be.

    Two questions arise. First, what legal authority did the MOI have to ordain the blocks? Secondly, on what statutory or stair decisis principles (to the extent they apply in Bahrain) can prosecution by the DPP be initiated?

    To my own interpretation, the answer is “none” to the first question, if the gag was soley based on the mention by the blockees of Bandergate.

    “None” also is right for the second question, based on the fact that the court either acted ultra vires its powers or had not ordained there to be a gag on reporting on the Bandergate itself. The gag – if any such thing does exist in law – was on reporting on the criminal case filed against Mr. AlBander (which has no public value at all given the motives involved). As previously analysed on this blog, no gag of what ever nature, shape or denomination has yet been ordained on reporting on the Bandergate itself. On the other hand, the question still remains, in what respects is the DPP v AlBander so different to any of the handred of similar cases outstanding that it, alone, needs to be isolated for the gag other than to deploy an iron curtain on a live proof that the judiciary is still another tool in the government’s repertoire for political purposes, despite all official attempts at public suation that such was the case in the old days only.

    The hard proof in today’s Bahrain, as it has always been, since “indepedence” in 1971, is what do you need to convict on strength solely of political motives? I say little or nothing. But I do strongly hope that the full application of the law is applied particularly as pertains to criminal convictions.

  6. Fatman says:

    Imam Alsadiq said over 1000 years ago: “Thanks to God who made our enemies stupid”. You just got the best publicity you could ever get without opening your wallet.

    Stay safe bro.

  7. Esra'a says:

    Fatman, all this publicity and praise is well deserved. Mahmood should keep expecting more and we should all do our best to keep the effort up.

  8. Nedhal says:

    القافلة تسير والكلاب تنبح ، اعتقد ان ابتسامتك قد غاظتهم هههه ، ابتسم للأطفال فقط افرحهم هذا القرار و من فرح جاهل فرح نبي . الله يساعدك على هالجهال. هههههه

  9. “I fervently hope that the Public Prosecutor will show its independence by throwing the cases out, as they should be.”

    All I can say is: Wishful Thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. PM says:

    Ya’Allah! I had no idea things had degenerated this much! WTF can those yahoos be thinking???

    But I must say that red is your color, dahlink :love:

    Salaam Alaikum,
    PM

    PS: I’ll be blogging about this if blogger ever gets back online.

  11. Ibn says:

    Imam Alsadiq said over 1000 years ago: “Thanks to God who made our enemies stupid”. You just got the best publicity you could ever get without opening your wallet.

    ROFL!! 😆

    That. Is. So. True.

    Idiots. Utter, utter, idiots.

    -Ibn

  12. I posted your story in my blog Here.

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