MoI threatens websites.. again.

They’re using that old “protecting Islam” chestnut again, here’s the copy:

أغلقت موقعي «صوت الحق» و«إسلاميات»
«الإعلام» ترصد المواقع الإلكترونية المسيئة للإسلام

صرح القائم بأعمال مدير إدارة المطبوعات والنشر في وزارة الإعلام حسن عون بان الوزارة تحرص على رصد المواقع التي تسيء الى الإسلام والى شخص الرسول الكريم، خصوصا بعد الموجة التي تفشت في معظم دول العالم المعادية للإسلام، ونتيجة لذلك تم حصر اكثر من موقع الكتروني وقد تم إغلاق بعضها في الآونة الأخيرة. وأضاف بان وزير الإعلام ووزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية قد اصدر مؤخرا قرارا بإغلاق موقعي ‘’صوت الحق’’ و’’إسلاميات’’ حيث انهما من المواقع التي تسيء الى شخص الرسول (صلى الله عليه وسلم) وللدين الإسلامي. وأوضح أن وزارة الاعلام تؤكد في هذا الصدد انها لا تألوا جهدا في التصدي لكل المواقع التي تتعارض مع قانون الصحافة والطباعة والنشر لسنة ,2002 وان الجهود مستمرة في رصد كل المواقع التي تسيء لديننا الحنيف والى شخص الرسول الكريم.

Al-Waqt :: 11 Oct, ’06

It really doesn’t matter what they’re saying in that paragraph, other than to understand that the Ministry of disInformation has decided to close a couple of websites they deem to be anti-Islamic (while they leave much more poisonous ones well alone); however, the important thing is to look at that underlined sentence (my emphasis) which states that the Ministry will have no compunction in closing down or at least blocking any site that contravenes the Press & Publications Law 47 of 2002.

They’ve said that before, but why are they reiterating it again? If your answer was to emphasize the illegal act – as freedom of speech is an inalienable human right – that sites too are not allowed to write about Bandargate you have won yourself a Just Bahraini button! Call me to pick yours up.

That demonstrates to me that Mr. Hassan Oan, the guy who appears to have taken over from Jamal Dawood, has been taught well by his predecessor, who is now much in the throws of his parliamentary election campaign which incidentally is completely paid for by Ahmed Attiyatallah, yes, the generous author of the very same cheques central to Bandargate. In Dawood’s case, receiving BD 2,200: BD 1,000 for organising a football tourney and BD 1,200 for a tent! How cheap can you get? And you call this person who demanded the registration of websites “to help them” trustworthy and doesn’t have any altruistic motives if he can be bought? [1] [2]

Which brings me to the laugh of the day…

The first page of the Bandargate reportThe national papers wrote a letter (are you shaking in your slippers yet?), yes my friends, the guardians of free speech on this island, all 6 of them, wrote a letter of objection to the High Criminal Court judge licking his shoes and explaining to him their point of view that them, ya’ani, being banned from writing anything about the Bandargate report [blush] will only drive people to other news avenues most of which will not be as responsible as their good selves are [uncontrollable giggles].

They received a reply (arabic) which they published on their front pages basically telling them to bugger off and behave themselves and continue to be acquiescent morons toeing the line. OR ELSE!

Or else what for God’s sake? Ban the newspaper from going to print for a few days? What the hell matter would that be anyway? They’re all financed through huge big pipes that would not even notice even a moderate drop in its flow pressure. Make a STAND Goddammit! What are you put there for in the first place? Aren’t you supposed to be the fourth Estate?

If I was one of their publishers, I would just print a completely blank paper with NO NEWS at all, white spaces where all their articles would be, but just keep the advertising blocks. I bet that had that been done that that paper’s sale would have skyrocketed on that day (yes, all it takes is a single print to make the point) and the pressure will have increased many fold and redirected on the court to rescind that brain-dead decision.

Ooo what a happy day!

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6 Comments
  • The Stallion
    11 October 2006

    I guess you have to write a post on how to use a proxy or what programs people can download and install that would let them bypass such blocks on websites!

  • mahmood
    11 October 2006

    It’s done already, but will they listen and realise it?

    Not in this lifetime…

  • Tahoun
    11 October 2006

    Oh, yes. I agree. I wrote two articles on this matter and sent them for publishing or action-in-better-ways, to one of the newspapers concenred. In the first artcle, I argued that there is no ban on press coverage of Bandergate per se, legally speaking. As such, refraining would be self-imposed, but not mandated. It is also argued, in the same article, that the Court might have exceeded its powers when it imposed the Gag. But the Gag itself related to the Criminal Case filed by PPD against Mr. AlBandar, not to Bandertgate. The two matters, i.e. the Crminal Case and Bandergate, being quite different from each other, in law and on the ground.

    In the 2nd article, which I sent and Blogged before reading your comments (above), with which I agree, I urge that the Court can be questioned, rather than “licked”, as you chose to put it – more dramatically. If after it being challanged the Court still does not and expeditedly budge, its decsion can be challenged by further action as specifically mentioned in the article.

    I presume that my opinions, as expressed in the Blogs, are sound and hope that the right action will now be taken, by the custodians of Free Speech in Bahrain.

  • Tahoun
    11 October 2006

    Tanks for editing. If you care, would you kindly leave in these links for the benefit of visitors who would like or can read Arabic.
    First Article: http://isaalfaraj.blogspot.com/2006/10/blog-post.html
    Second Article: http://isaalfaraj.blogspot.com/2006/10/blog-post_11.html
    Thanks and God Bless.

  • mahmood
    11 October 2006

    You got it, and I agree with your conclusions.

  • Bubz
    15 October 2006

    If I was one of their publishers, I would just print a completely blank paper with NO NEWS at all, white spaces where all their articles would be, but just keep the advertising blocks.

    Haha, brilliant idea. A similar tactic was employed by a Pakistani political writer post-independence. He used to write for a local paper, and the incendiary stuff that got edited out, he would just leave blank spaces.. so his articles were blocks of “approved” text and “censored” spaces.

    Don’t know what happened with him though.

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