Tag Archives information

Ministry of Information no more?

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According to this, it looks like the good lady has had her way.

The Ministry of Information & Culture neé Ministry of Information has now transformed into the Ministry of Culture with the information part devolved into an authority under the leadership of Shaikh Fawaz Al-Khalifa, the ex president of GOYS. Shaikh Fawaz will also inherit the main departments of the erstwhile MoI: Radio & TV, Artistic affairs (?), Foreign Press, the Bahrain News Agency and Press & Publications subdivided under new sections headed by assigned director generals. Although not named yet, if these DGs are the old undersecretaries (who effectively ran the ministry) then we can safely say that no real change will be forthcoming. Sites will remain to be blocked and the freedom of information will continue to be at their whims.

But, let’s wait a few weeks to find out how the chips will fall in that erstwhile ministry.

Another thing which will be closely watched by those inside and outside BRTC; however, is what will happen to those very highly paid Lebanese “experts” who were inducted in droves by Shaikha Mai Al-Khalifa at the complete chagrin of everyone there. Will they remain in their vaulted towers to continue to dictate how “the locals” run their affairs by forcing in obsolete and expensive methods and incomprehensible technologies at odds with the broadcasting world norms, or will they, like her excellency be given the boot?


Haaq.org blocked in Bahrain

one of the first orders of the new minister is to block access within Bahrain to the Haq Political Movement website

If the policy of blocking Internet access to web sites in Bahrain falls on the shoulders of the Ministry of Information, one which I had ample hope and aspiration of its restructuring to the better by the appointment of a new minister recently, I am sorely disappointed. Because had this been the case then one of the first orders of the new minister is to block access within Bahrain to the Haq Political Movement website, presumably due to whoever it is within government – and it could very well be higher than the aforementioned hapless ministry – “running out of patience” with those “rabble rousers”.

Bukamal, Bahraini minister of information

This brings the tracked blocked websites to 23 (see sidebar). I don’t know the real number of blocked sites as it could very well be higher. If anyone has access to the full list I would appreciate receiving it, even anonymously. In the pursuit of the truth, I would love to discern a pattern from what the government deems “offensive” websites and unearth some sort of order which might indicate what the government – or an influential enough person/body within it – has no tolerance for. Not that recognising an itch would actually produce a soothing scratch!

Not that recognising an itch would actually produce a soothing scratch!

In the spirit of giving, as it is Eid after all, let me share with you once again how one might go around these various blocks and hopefully demonstrate to the powers that be that in this day and age and with the structure of the Internet, blocks on information does not actually work in the way they intend; unless of course their intention is to continue to sully the name of Bahrain in contrast to the very people of this fine country who have been diligently working to promote it.

TOR logoThe TOR project (The Onion Router) is probably the best you can use, especially when you combine it with Firefox as you will see below:

  • They can’t block TOR as it does not depend on a unique location, it is distributed and could be downloaded from thousands of sites. It’s a public and a not-for-profit project (yes, it’s free) and multi-platform.
  • Download the latest version of TOR for your platform, the download and installation instructions are rather straightforward; just go to the TOR download page and grab your version. If it does get blocked in a vain attempt at grandeur, use any of the peer-to-peer file sharing tools and search for it. You’ll get it in no time.
  • Once your package is downloaded, go ahead and install it by double-clicking the downloaded application and follow the instructions.
  • Now go to the Firefox extensions page and install Torbutton.
  • Restart Firefox.

TOR unblocks haaq.org

Now you will notice a small onion in your status-bar. Provided that the Tor application is running in the background, whenever you want to view any blocked site on the Internet, simply click the onion and it will temporarily change your proxy settings in Firefox to enable you to circumvent the blocking mechanism. How it does this is rather simple and ingenious, you might want to read more information about the method used which is available on the Tor website.

I hope that the government wakes up to the fact that censorship only hurts itself and its fragile reputation

I hope that the government wakes up to the fact that censorship only hurts itself and its fragile reputation nationally and internationally and that these draconian measures just do not have a place in this day and age.

This is not the way that things should be done, gentlemen. If one does not agree with another, a negotiation table is the best way forward, engagement, in other words, is much more conducive to solving our problems than having a childish foot-stomping-fist-thumping tantrum.


Hurraay! The Ministry of (dis)Information is to be disbanded!

This just in from the GDN quoting Akhbar Al-Khaleej that the Ministry of Information will be immediately disbanded and a part of history! At last someone listened, this corrupt, bankrupt, stifling government organ and brown-noser is no longer! I am SO happy for Bahrain that they should make today, August 26th a national holiday for ever!

Information Ministry to be axed

MANAMA: The Information Ministry is to be abolished and its responsibilities handed over to newly-created commissions for tourism, radio and television and culture and national heritage, it was revealed last night.

The first new body, the Tourism Commission, will come into being on September 1, informed sources told our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej.

Members of this organisation will be drawn mainly from the private sector and it will be chaired by a hotel company official. The existing tourism directorate will be abolished.

The second new commission will be formed in October or November to oversee culture and national heritage.

The sources said the Information Ministry would be dissolved at the beginning of next year. There was also a possibility that the Directorate of Printing would be affiliated to the new Culture and National Heritage Commission.

The sources added that it was likely the new Bahrain Radio and Television Commission would be set up at the beginning of next year as an independent commission. None of the commissions will be attached to a ministry.