No blocked sites in Bahrain!

6 Apr, '07
update 9 Apr, ’07: I am told that Batelco has started to block the sites again, but rather than blocking them at the proxy servers (which are in a sad state, it seems) they are blocking them directly at the router, which means it is going to be harder to bypass that block. I’ve checked some of the sites below and found that some indeed appear blocked. So, essentially, no lesson has been learnt unfortunately.

I have no idea what’s going on, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

I have just checked all the listed blocked internet sites just now and ALL of them are unblocked!

I hope that this is not a technical glitch but a strategic understanding that blocking internet content does not serve the country any good at all, apart from it being a futile exercise.

I’ll hold my congratulations at bay at the moment until I know for sure what’s going on.

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  1. Global Voices Online » Bahrain: Blocking Sites | 11 Apr, '07
  1. Someone from within says:

    They’re taking their time with the re-installation. (It won’t take me more than several hours). You know how lazy people are….

  2. Anon- 4 ever says:

    Mahmood,
    its weird! i cant access your blog from home! its says that im blocked from accessing this weblog.
    tried emailing you, didnt get a reply from you, can you lease check whats the deal?

    sorry i know this shouldnt be here in this post! :sick:

  3. Ali says:

    Take it from me.. It is a technical glitch, Mahmood. The proxies will soon work as expected :devil:

  4. Amjad says:

    On what bases do they block sites?

  5. Bahraini and proud says:

    Freedom of speech finally…

    I don’t agree with religiouse sites, or wait let me rephrase this last one, i don’t like people who mix religion and politics and economy and everything else in life. but after all this is a personal opinion and if they harm me not i shall not harm them, but the point i’m trying to make here is that its a great step and an amazing leap forward to the future of freedom of speech.

    Slava Bahrain = Glory to bahrain

  6. Esra'a says:

    Definitely technical… they’re not going to do this without bragging. If this is true, then a lot of sites would need updating, especially HRW and RSF and the others who documented this.

    You keep getting our hopes up Mahmood! First the free internet… now this… If all is true, I may just turn into a super-nationalist. That’s how happy and proud I’d be of our country’s achievements.

    Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst, as usual!

  7. bahraini student UK says:

    just a little warning to mahmood…be carefull what you write about bahraini MPs…they might get the police on to you like last time and then maybe those police wont be your typical soft spoken bahraini, they would be yemenis or baluchi arabs with a camel whip.

  8. Anonymous says:

    maybe they did it for the upcoming F1 period; so that the visiting group and press don’t get the impression that bahrain is a backwards society.

  9. mahmood says:

    Anon, I would have replied to your email had it contained a proper email address. All it had was a w and a bunch of ?s after it. Check your email settings.

    Email me your IP address you are trying to access the site from and I’ll look into it.

  10. BIX (Bahrain Internet Exchange) is still blocking all of these sites, it’s only through Batelco these sites can be viewed.

  11. Hashim says:

    Interesting that bahraintimes.org has been hacked. 🙂

  12. Abu Arron says:

    Interesting that bahraintimes.org has been hacked

    ??!!

    Works OK for me (not hacked).

  13. Rancher says:

    Any step forward is a good thing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    wow thank god that stupid site bahraintimes.org was hacked… well they asked for it in my opinion… so hows making fun of others by cartoons is gonna solve anything? especially of rulers who are trying their best to solve the problems of this country. not only that i was shocked that it had some stupid funny pictures of the crown prince.. that was just stupid, hes probably gonna change a lot of things in Bahrain toward the best in the future but stupid people like the makers of that site obviously do not know anything about how to run a country, nor will they ever. If you think things are bad here why dont you go to africa? i bet they have better lives than you? or how about Iraq? or many other places in the world where people are basically screwed?.

    Maybe i will get hateful replies but it doesnt matter. What different does it make. If people think they can fix the problems within this country by making fun of others and dissing the ruling family in every site possible then you are most definitely wrong.

    I address this message to some people~ please grow up and try to do something most productive then sit countless hours online doing nothing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    more freedom my ass; someone tell the GDN april fools is over :getlost:

    http://gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=177085&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=30019

  16. naddooi says:

    Hahaha, i was ABOUT to post that same article!!!!

    The 25-page study found that no journalist in Bahrain had been questioned by security services

    This is HYSTERICAL!!! :w00t:
    No journalist was questioned what, in the last 2 weeks?!?!?!? (yes im laughing, cause if i don’t i’ll CRY!) :cwy:

    So hold up, is that y they unblocked the site? to push their rating up?

    State control of the media in Bahrain was categorised at 1.39 per cent

    How do they come up with these %’s?!?!?!?

    Bahrain was also among the countries reporting the least restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion

    Is that cause most ppl blog anonymously?
    Did the people who carried this thing out get their information from the government? Would be interesting to look at the report… hold on, access to it is probably blocked! :angry:

  17. lebinbah says:

    Why were they blocked ?

  18. I really cant see that as a technical glitch, if it was a technical glitch the MOI will be all over Batelco (and any other ISP for that matter) that un blocked these Blogs/websites.

    Lets not jump the gun, it was in Al-wasat news paper yesterday, lets see where it goes from there and see the official response to that, Official, Yeah right.

    hahaha.

  19. Hashim says:

    Abu Arron

    Did you read what’s written on the site?

    It’s clear that it’s hacked.

  20. Abu Arron says:

    Oh, yeah. See what you mean now. Where was I sent to yesterday?! The plot sickens

  21. Ali says:

    Eyad the Great says:

    I really cant see that as a technical glitch, if it was a technical glitch the MOI will be all over Batelco (and any other ISP for that matter) that un blocked these Blogs/websites.

    It is a technical glitch, and soon will be re-enforced. MOI said so. [Arabic]

    بسبب خطأ فني‮ ‬له علاقة بالجهات التي‮ ‬تقدم خدمة الإنترنت في‮ ‬البحرين تم رفع الحظر عن جميع مواقع الإنترنت الممنوعة في‮ ‬البحرين،‮ ‬ومن بينها الموقع الإكتروني‮ ‬لجمعية العمل الوطني‮ ‬الديمقراطي‮ ”‬وعد‮” ‬ومركز حقوق الإنسان المنحل‮.‬
    وقال مصدر مسؤول في‮ ‬وزارة الإعلام إن‮ ”‬الوزارة لم تغير سياستها بهذا الشأن وأن ما رفع الحظر عن هذه المواقع التي‮ ‬تتعارض والقوانين قد‮ ‬يكون خطأ فنيا‮”‬،‮ ‬موضحا أن الوزارة‮ ”‬حظرت في‮ ‬وقت سابق عددا من المواقع الإباحية والمواقع التي‮ ‬تسيء إلى الإسلام وتلك التي‮ ‬تتعارض مع قانون الصحافة والنشر بشأن حقوق الملكية للمؤلف،‮ ‬وأخيرا المواقع التي‮ ‬تم إغلاقها بحكم القانون أو بأمر قضائي‮”.‬
    وقال إن إشكالية فنية ربما ساهمت في‮ ‬فتح بعض المواقع المشار إليها،‮ ‬وإن هذه المسؤولية منوطة بالجهات المعنية بتنفيذ الأمور الفنية،‮ ‬وعليها التحقق من الالتزام بذلك‮. ‬

  22. Redbelt says:

    Question:you have any reason to think you are monitored Mahmood? Phone tap, Home surveillance and stuff?

  23. mahmood says:

    None whatsoever, Redbelt.

  24. The Po Lease says:

    you have any reason to think you are monitored

    No need for that. The blog is enough :devil:

  25. mahmood says:

    See, there is value in living transparently! :angel:

  26. Redbelt says:

    Fair enough. But I wouldn’t trust technology or closed spaces if I were you.

  27. mahmood says:

    you know something I don’t?

  28. One in a Million says:

    Bah! I forgot we’re living in Bahrain :getlost:
    What a shame!

  29. Ansgar says:

    Hallo!
    Your site is mentioned in a german newspaper(most important one) article (http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/0,1518,476130,00.html). What i found here is very interesting. I´ll keep an eye on it. 😉
    Greetings from Germany/Europe
    Handsup

  30. mahmood says:

    Ansgar thank you very much for the link you provided. I read the article by Henryk through Google’s translator and it reads quite well!

    I’m glad you found the article good and came for a visit, you’re more than welcome!

  31. @ mahmood / 30:

    I wouldn’t call Mr. Broder with is first name, even though this article is surprisingly not that racist he usually writes ( The magazine “Spiegel” is on a very anti-islamic campaign with Henryk Broder as one of the most aggressive writers). But this article is – though I don’t see it as informative as it could be – quite interesting and shows a couple of interesting projects.

    You’ll have a lot of German readers for the next days… :w00t:

  32. Ansgar says:

    @Simon
    I don´t agree. “Der Spiegel” isn´t on an “anti-islamic” capaign. What´s your proof?
    More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Spiegel or the international edition: http://www.spiegel.de/international

  33. @ Ansgar:

    What’s that?
    I don’t know for what this cover should stand but an anti-islamic campaign. You’ll also find articles, especially those written by Claus Christian Malzahn, which are anti-islamic and support hostile to (espacially islamic) foreigners. Also take look on this article from the “taz”.

  34. Ansgar says:

    An eyecatcher? 😉
    It reflects the controversial character of the current debate on islamistic (not islamic!) influence.
    Just my 2 cents…

  35. O.k., I’ve got my different two cents… but that’s just human… good night!

  36. Ansgar says:

    Okay, good night to all :sleeping:

  37. Bahraini and proud says:

    DUDE when i was first time in Europe i was young around 19 or younger by my self, walking the streets i saw a guy holding the bible and preaching to people in the city centre, while this evangelist was preaching i noticed that police walked by and they didn’t even look at him around 5km away from this guy i also saw the communist HQ for this city and 2km away from it there was a mosque where a mullah was calling in for prayer….

    now the country which i was in is considered poor financially and they consider it as recovering nation from a former regime as the filthy west calls it, but if i compare the rights that i have there as a Bahraini and i compare it to the rights that i have back home,, :dizzy: i think they treat me better there…

    i can shout out my believes. i can wear a shirt that has my idles or my icon or whatever that i want, i sat with locals started talking about politics and as always i start swearing at thier president and i support the opposition. and they were totally calm and respected my points of view…

    Slava Bahrain = glory to bahrain

    Why can’t we be a nation better than these mentally challenged retards the live all around ou lovely island ???

    Why can’t we elvate our selves from these morons??? always connected to these Big united A ***lickers…. you never will see freedom of speech in these countries.. or as i like to call it the world right wing party… (capitalist filthy creatures)…lets fight wars so every nation must eat Mc, Drives GM, listens to some black guy going yap yap yap and yeah not have FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

  38. Ansgar says:

    Regular english article version available: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,476644,00.html

  39. mahmood says:

    Thanks again!

  40. Fahad says:

    Are the sites still open? I’ve heard a romour that the government is testing to see what the public reaction would be to the remove of sensorship. According to the romour the sites should be closed now.

    If sensorship is removed, we have Bill Woodcock to thank!

    Fahad.

  41. mahmood says:

    Who’s Bill Woodcock?

    I just tried the 19 sites listed on the right, almost all the Bahraini sites are now blocked other than aldemokrati.org, add to that all the external political sites other than bintjbail. The Christian sites are open.

    I see that alduraz.net (not listed) which was blocked in 2002 is now open for business! Congrats!

    So it’s pot luck so far.

  42. Fahad says:

    Bill’s job is with Packet Clearing House. He was here for MENOG 1 and took the opertunity to meet some goverment officials. Meetings where setup for him by two of the OLOs in Bahrain.

    Bill is pretty much an authority on a few things and sensorship and proxys are one of them.

    Let’s hope the romour I heard is true and he actually got through to people!

    Fahad.

  43. mahmood says:

    This is interesting.. if you can shed more light on the purpose of his discussions, and if he needs some help and support to get his message (of unblocking the sites?) through.

  44. Fahad says:

    As crazy as this might seem to some, his purpose is simply to help out. You’ll find that the internet community internationally is very small and closely knit. The situation Bahrain is in is an embarrassment and the solutions currently implemented are counter productive.

    Let’s take an example here. I mean come on, look at parliament. For years we’ve been asking for one. When we got given one, we settled for a half baked one that could be silenced and then we elected in certain circumstances the least qualified rather than the most highly qualified. One of their most wonderfully highly memorable debates was on trying to get a bill through that guarantees them a retirement package after their four years are through! Oh and the best part is it came right after they discussed how the pension funds are near bankruptcy… Let’s see… We have a problem… Let’s make it worse by asking for something for us!

    The point being is censorship is just the same. It is counter productive to the purposes of the government as it keeps the fires raging. When Google Earth was blocked because pictures of Jed’h where published online, EVERYONE in Bahrain got interested and saw them. If the site was left ignored, only a few would have circulated them and no damage would have resulted. Additionally, from the technical level, it is near impossible to block all sites whether you use proxy servers or a router. There are ways around everything. This is the tack Bill is taking.

    Now for all of you readers before you attack this, think carefully. It’s true, our last parliament sucked. But this one is hopefully a little better. It’s improving as it is an evolution. The same is true with the political debate or anything else that is currently censored.

    Yes the tack for removing censorship is that once it’s gone, people will lose interest and this is 100% true. Experiences globally all go to prove this. However, once it’s gone, those who are serious about their political views and their goals of bettering our country will have a fuller picture of their situation based on true discussions and will be able to build a momentum that is driven by more than anger at censorship. A momentum that may change our country.

    Makes sense? Maybe it’s all crap but I think it would work.

    Fahad.

    P.S. This site is amazing. And the message is getting across. Even the censored sites are being viewed 😉 We all know this as references to this are made pretty much on a daily basis on sites that are not currently censored. The message is hitting home, believe me.

  45. mahmood says:

    Fahad of course you’re making sense! I hope that the message does get through because the added benefit of NOT censoring sites and content is the need for proxy filters will no longer be needed which means that surfing will suddenly get faster, less investment will be required by operators as they will not have to invest in those proxies and filters and they (hopefully) will pass that reduction in cost to the customers in lower tariffs.

    See, everyone benefits!

  46. Fahad says:

    Agreed! I’m sure someone out there is also listening and I hope they take the message across to the right people. Not that we’ll stop shouting it out load for everyone to hear, right?

    Fahad.

  47. Islam Lover says:

    I think porn sites blocking is one of good thing mean time some intelligent people use hotspot sheeld to access all the sites ..so should block even hotspot sheeld otherwise no use of blocking the site

    in Gudaibiya Opposite Ajeeb Stores Eman Computer (its Internet Cafe) next to fathima Restaurant Rd 2161, this cafe all the pc’s installed hotspot sheeld this cafe most of time full-pack even children s

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