A light-bulb faintly goes on

From this morning’s GDN

Webmasters are free to register

WEBMASTERS will not be hounded into registering their sites with the Information Ministry, authorities said yesterday.

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.

“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.

“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. But if the authorities hear about it, then you could.”

A six-month campaign has been launched to register all Bahraini websites.

Webmasters 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 a webmaster.

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

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

Mr Dawood said no one would face prosecution merely for failing to register. He said registration was in the webmasters’ own good.


“We cannot protect people’s intellectual property rights without having them registered.”

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

Meanwhile, the ministry’s new policies were blasted by Bahrain’s first web blogger Mahmood Al Yousif who said if they weren’t going to be enforced properly, they are meaningless.

“This means that the law is going to be applied unequally and if it will be applied haphazardly, then it is useless.”

Mr Al Yousif, who runs www.mahmood.tv, said this policy will only victimise people who are courageous enough to reveal their identity on the Internet.

“There are many ways of disguising your identity on the Internet. Since these people cannot be identified, the law cannot be applied to them,” he said.

The Internet blogging community, said Mr Al Yousif, has its own way of dealing with irresponsible bloggers.

“The blogging phenomenon, which has been sweeping the world for the past few years, has done wonders for progressing and protecting democracy because it’s about normal people putting down their thoughts without having to go through the traditional editorial process.”

This piece was by Tariq Khonji whose site http://tariqkhonji.com is well worth a visit.

This to me is progress, in as much as they (Dawood and Al-Mahmood) seem to have realised that they’re getting into deep water here so it’s best to find a way out. It is unfortunate however that they chose to unequally apply the law – which in their minds is a legitimate thing!

And pray tell us Mr. Al-Mahmood and Mr. Dawood, how is it that you want to “regulate” the internet and you don’t even have a website?

For this very fact, and for the fact that you RUN the Ministry of Information I hearby un-libellously brand you morons of the month!

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  • 7alaylia
    28 April 2005

    A light-bulb faintly goes on

    They will not “active pursure” this rule. Unless, of course, it is convenient for them at a particular time. Members of the government who pass laws with promises of not enforcing them cannot be trusted. If they do not plan to enforce them, why take the time and effort to put them on the books?

  • anonymous
    28 April 2005

    A light-bulb faintly goes on

    what’s the point of having a law if they know and expect people to break it!

  • anonymous
    29 April 2005

    A light-bulb faintly goes on

    “We cannot protect people’s intellectual property rights without having them registered.”

    But the main reason for starting this law wasn’t anywhere close to “protecting” people’s property rights!

  • anonymous
    2 May 2005

    A light-bulb faintly goes on

    Good luck guys : )


    Cheers! And all the best …

  • mahmood
    3 May 2005

    It’s gone off.

    It seems that the light has gone completely off. Via Chan’ad, this article appeared in todays Bahrain Tribune:

    Registration process for Bahraini websites continues smoothly

    The process to register websites related to Bahrain is moving smoothly, the head of Press and Publication, Jamal Dawood, has said.

    “Many Website owners have either come to the office or e-mailed or faxed the required information to be registered,� Jamal said.

    The Ministry of Information had decreed that all website owners must register their names, addresses and telephone numbers with the ministry starting May 2. The registration process which covers all sites set up locally or internationally is expected to last six months.

    The decision has run into controversy after it was welcomed by some people as a step to regulate the use of the internet in Bahrain, but was also criticised by some observers as a move to limit freedom of expression and called for its rejection.

    “It is not a repressive step,� Jamal Dawood told media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders. On the contrary, it is intended to protect people running websites who in future will be able to protect their rights of authorship,� he said.

    The ministry said that the move would ban defamation and insult on the Internet after some websites have been accused of inciting hatred and spreading false information. However, there was caution that the decision should not be used to limit pressure from Internet users on establishments and institutions. “The decision will intimidate online editors and push them into cutting back on their publication’s interactive aspects,� Reporters Without Borders said.

    The President of the Bahrain Internet Society, Wahid Belushi, said that the process was needed to ensure that there are no libels against individuals.

    “The decision to register all websites, even personal ones, will make website editors and forum moderators fully responsible for the content of the sites.

    “If editors are responsible for the content of their newspapers, why shouldn’t website editors assume their moral responsibilities as well?� he said.

    They’re talking, not out of their mouths this time. Jamal Dawood claims success, yet he (and the reporter covering this should have asked for proof) offers no numbers to back his claim up. Which is typical of a low level official.

    And Wahid Belushi seems to be afraid of losing his job, so he conveniently toes the line. As a so called “president” of BIS (which some already started calling Bahrain International Bullshit, and I conveniently take the same tactic of omiting numbers,) should have known better and stood resolutely with local webmasters and web content authors rather than spoud off the rubbish he has. He’s probably not wearing his thinking ghutra on today.

    Gentlmen: yes you Mr. Dawood and Mr. Balooshi, quit, there is still time to save face. The window won’t be open for a lot longer.

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