Political societies warned: “Your bulletin is too big!”

3 Sep, '10

The National Democratic Action Society (WAAD)'s bulletin

That’s the latest in the salvo against political societies. The most mundane and incoherent excuse to try to “put them in their place” and put another hurdle in the country’s already faltering steps toward democracy. Anything, it seems, to curtail political societies’ effectiveness and to get them to waste their energies into anything but the forthcoming elections. (The government objects to giving these entities their real name: Political Parties. Go figure.)

Five political societies were summoned to the Misery of Information Information Authority (or whatever they call it now) to be told that their political bulletins – you know, the newsprint all political parties and societies produce to communicate with their members and public – are too big.

Jealous, maybe!

But apart from the Information Whatchamakallit’s objection to size, they’re also objecting to the content:

وأوضح سلمان أن إدارة المطبوعات والنشر لم توجه مخالفة معينة إلى الجمعية، وإنما أبدت تحفظها على نوعية الموضوعات التي تطرح في النشرة، وحجم النشرة الذي ارتأت الإدارة أنه من غير المسموح به، وأن النشرة تأخذ شكلاً وطابعاً آخر. [source]

 

Salman [Abdulnabi, the secretary general of the Democratic Progress Tribune Society] explained that the Directorate of Press and Publication did not specify particular violations to the Society, but expressed reservations regarding the issues presented in the bulletins, as well as its size, which the Directorate considered as not allowed, and that the publication has taken another form and character.

The question must be asked that as some of these societies have been producing and distributing their bulletins in secret (before the Reforms) for decades, and have been doing so publicly since the advent of the Reforms, why is the government objecting now? Could it have anything to do with the forthcoming elections?

UPDATE: Looks like the Information Authority has ordered the closure of Alwefaq’s website! Pretty good going isn’t it, and just before the elections, close the largest society’s website. Of course, there are various other ways to access it.

Is there any other ham-fisted way in which the government attempts to further stymie political progress and restrict the already very meagre freedoms which we’re supposed to enjoy?

They banned any talk or reporting on several (politically motivated?) criminal cases which are of extreme interest to the people; they practically banned the freedom of assembly; they continue to ban websites and books; and now they’re interfering with what are essentially trade publications of political societies!

I say, ban the air that we breath while you’re at it. You’ll be doing us a big favour there for a change, considering the pollutants Bahrain suffers from!

I suggest that the political societies save some trees and print their bulletins on just a single page which should only include their name at the top, and a URL to direct people to read their content online.

Small enough for you, Information Authority?

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Comments (3)

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  1. AbuRasool says:

    the authoritarian blanket is spreading beyond the usual supects.
    Just heard an unconfirmed news that the deputy prime minister shiekh Mohammad bin Mubarak Alkhalifa has summoned Dr. Mansoor alJamri to remprimand him and warn him against publishing ‘inciteful news’. (beware Mahmood!)
    BTW Mohammad bin Mubarak’s first official job (late 1960s)was “Director of Information

    • mahmood says:

      Well I guess I should just go back to gardening posts!

      • The Cynic says:

        Don’t ever think that even your Gardening Posts can’t be politically interpreted as ‘inciteful news’, which will ultimately ban your site too… 🙂

        شر البلية ما يضحك

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