With six international human rights organizations releasing stinging reports on the freedom of expression in the Arab world, Bahrain was not spared any of that wrath. And deservedly so for the thousands of websites which have been blocked over the past ten years, a campaign which has intensified especially over the last few years. The government remains unmoved by these criticisms for the large part; although I’ve noticed that two of my sites have mysteriously been unblocked over the last few weeks. “Just Bahraini” the anti-sectarian website I created in 2006 to offer a form of rapprochement is presently unblocked and the Bahraini blogs aggregator too has been unblocked. I look forward to restoring their content soon and bringing them back to life. This is probably as sign that the government has finally discovered that its blocking policy is ineffective and people’s determination to reach blocked content remains largely unhindered.
Another admission of the ineffectiveness of that medieval policy comes from one of the darling ministers of the regime – and as she currently holds three huge portfolios: Social Affairs, Health and Human Rights, has been locally dubbed as Super-Woman or Super-Minister, and rightly so too. When the right honorable lady was interviewed in her Human Rights capacity regarding this particular subject, she issued forth the following priceless gem:
ÙˆÙ„Ø¯Ù‰ Ø³Ø¤Ø§Ù„Ù‡Ø§ Ø¹Ù† Ø§Ù„Ù…ÙˆØ§Ù‚Ø¹ Ø§Ù„Ù…ØØ¬ÙˆØ¨Ø©ØŒ Ù‚Ø§Ù„Øª ÙˆØ²ÙŠØ±Ø© ØÙ‚ÙˆÙ‚ Ø§Ù„Ø¥Ù†Ø³Ø§Ù† ÙˆØ§Ù„ØªÙ†Ù…ÙŠØ© Ø§Ù„Ø§Ø¬ØªÙ…Ø§Ø¹ÙŠØ© ÙØ§Ø·Ù…Ø© Ø§Ù„Ø¨Ù„ÙˆØ´ÙŠØŒ Ø®Ù„Ø§Ù„ Ù„Ù‚Ø§Ø¡ Ù…Ø¹ Ù…Ù†Ø¸Ù…Ø© ØÙ‚ÙˆÙ‚ÙŠØ© Ø¯ÙˆÙ„ÙŠØ© Ø¥Ù†Ù‡Ø§ Â«Ù„ÙŠØ³Øª Ù…Ø´ÙƒÙ„Ø©… ÙˆÙŠÙ…ÙƒÙ† Ø§Ø³ØªØ®Ø¯Ø§Ù… Ø§Ù„Ø¨Ø±ÙˆÙƒØ³ÙŠÂ».
My translation: And when she was asked about the blocked websites, the Minister of Human Rights and Social Affairs responded during a meeting with an international human rights organisation by saying it’s not a problem… a proxy could be used [to gain access]” [source]
With that issuance, the right honorable lady has squarely killed two bulls with a single bullet; the first is her apparent lack of understanding of the Internet in general, and the second being her flippant admission that people do use proxies to gain access to blocked content; hence, admitting in print that censoring the Internet is useless and futile, and her government is wrong for doing so in the first place.
A friend commented on this situation thusly:
safybh: @mahmood they can use proxy is the new they can eat biscuits.
With ministers like the right honorable Ms Albalooshi, this country simply cannot go wrong.