RSF gets a bit too Bolshy

It looks like there is a new admin for this area for RSF… there must be, as their latest press release about Bahrain is a bit, well, unduly strong. I would have thought that they could be a little bit more politically cognizant and temper it down a bit.

Saying something like:

Determined to oppose the continuation of your current Internet policies, we hope you will take account of this new request to let your subjects express themselves online and allow the Internet to develop freely. We remind you that we already told you of our concern in April 2005 about your government’s adoption of a regulation requiring websites dealing with Bahrain to register with the information ministry.

my emphasis

will most definitely and resolutely burn any remaining bridges between the Bahraini government and RSF, rendering any good that RSF hopes to achieve to be close to zero.

I am not saying that our government’s policy as far as censorship (Internet or otherwise) is correct, far from it, in fact I totally oppose it, but for RSF to go to this level of Bolshiness is immature, inconsiderate and politically incorrect.

Much more important than that, they do our cause no good whatsoever by isolating themselves in such a matter.

I guess this is one situation where a champion turned into an ogre?

hat tip: Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace


  1. Samboosa

    I totally back RSF’s statements.

    I have no qualms with those who have a penchance for schmoozing with the regime.

    I do have qualms with those who criticize others who may prefer a more direct and straightforward approach.

    This post is an example of the fearful and timid attitude of some in the country towards direct criticism of the regime. I don’t think RSF has anything to lose by this at all. In fact, I wouldn’t expect to them to have a good relationship with the government in the first place. NGOs such as RSF are there exactly for the purpose of flagging the government’s mis-haps…i’d start worrying if it worded this any differently. In fact, what are the other silent NGOs doing about the situation in Bahrain?

    RSF thank you for this statement and as a Bahraini I support all you have done for bloggers and freedom of expression in our country.

  2. Samboosa

    Immature Bolshiness?
    Mate this is calling a spade a spade… if that is immaturity, then please take me back to kindergarden.

  3. Post

    You can do things through two routs: one is direct and harsh, as is the present form of statements coming out of RSF, the other is just as unwavering, but polite.

    I would hazard a guess that it is the second approach that would garner more results than the first. And not only in this situation and most definitely not just in the case of Bahrain.

    For reference, see any of RSF’s previous statements prior to this one.

  4. redbelt

    This is calling a Spade a Spade, but is this a letter that was communicated to the KING?
    That is no way to address kings, and if I was one I would definitely be insulted.

  5. underthedatetree

    I’m afraid I stand with Samboosa on this one.

    Whilst the second approach might work in other places in the world, it certainly does not in Bahrain. You need to be direct and to the point here. Written replies I have received from governmental bodies (in english) border on being rude. If that is what a Bahraini subject received in the form of communication from a govermental body be it, MoT, MoI etc. they can expect nothing more from me.

    Let’s be honest here. The MoI has been blocking websites for years! Do you really think a letter submitted to the King, polite or not, is really going to revert MoI decisions? I think not.

  6. Dusk till dawn

    Given that the head of Reporters Without Borders Robert Menard recently voiced support for the use of torture – even going so far as discussing the ethics of torturing terror suspects to death – I think the term ‘ogre’ to describe this group is a little too apt.

    I like the way whoever drafted this press release has adopted this really angry self-righteous tone, while their boss is on France Culture Radio advocating far worse human rights absuses. Even worse than Menard’s views on torturing people is the group’s relationship with Otto Reich, the PR man for Latin America’s death squads.

    No one’s going to support blocking these sites as its pathetic, but Reporters Without Borders isn’t so much bolshy as bullshit.


    Well, RSF have the right points. They have the right direction. But in this situation, the communication flawed the whole message.

    We already told you” for example, sounds like an angry father talking to a son, or a harsh manager talking to a subordinate. In the end, the Bahrain government is in control, and the RSF is just an awareness/advisory body. This message makes it sound like they believe they control internet freedom, and unfortunately if they talked to me or anyone else in such a way, their motives, no matter how good or sincere, would probably be ignored.

  8. The Joker

    I agree with samboosa. The tail is wagging the dog if we ask NGO’s and watch dog agencies to tone it down and be nice.

    Lets not forget that the freedoms we enjoyed between 2001 and 2003 were because the outside world started noticing what was going on in the late 90’s.

  9. Post

    Yes, truth sometimes is ugly and most certainly can also be disrespectful of the status quo. I recognise and respect this principle; however, do note that there has been a marked departure from previous (even immediate ones) press releases by the RSF. That point alone is worth considering; is it due to new management (I know that a new person has taken over for this area) or is it because opposition groups have gotten the ear of this new (and improved?) rapporteur or are there other motives behind this change… or is it simply a case of “fearless youth?”

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