Tag Archives journalism

Egypt: Judge’s request to block websites rejected

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Some good news for a change!

The State Commissioner Committee in Egypt has rejected the request made by the judge Abdel Fattah Mourad to block 51 websites and blogs deemed insulting the state’s dignity and threatening Egypt’s interests. In the meantime, the investigation on blogger Amr Gharbia, who was charged for defaming Judge Mourad, has been suspended: “PC Police declared that Gharbia’s blog had merely hosted comments insulting the judge; as the comments did not come from him, he was absolved of the charge,” said IFEX in its statement issued yesterday.

I am glad that this case is being resolved to the benefit of freedom of expression and hope that HRInfo will continue to sue the plagiarist judge and call from his removal from office.

As importantly, a precedent has also been set in that the investigative committee ascertained that a blogger is not responsible for comments entered on his or her site as we have no reasonable control on those comments or commentors.

Congratulations to Amr and the blogging  community on this good news. May we get more of its like.


Defamation case thrown out by High Court

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The High Court dismissed a defamation case brought by the president of the Arabian Gulf University Dr Rafia Ghubash against journalist Hisham Al-Zayani.

I wish to offer my congratulations to Mr. Al-Zayani for winning the case, even though the decision has taken over 2 years to be determined. This rare victory for the written word should be guardedly welcomed as the current Press and Publications Law still allows for the imprisonment of journalists and it is high time that it is changed.


CNN: Poverty in Bahrain

Lulu once again has an excellent opinion which is well worth reading:

Hala Gorani, presenter of “Inside the Middle East,” apparently was in Bahrain, interviewing Shi’a poor villagers, Nabeel Rajab, and a couple of government Ministers. The program started with an assertion that Bahrain, despite being one of the world’s richest countries in terms of per capita GDP, has a “hidden population.” Political and economic issues in Bahrain were reduced to ” long-standing tensions” between the ” poor Shi’a majority” and the “ruling Sunni elite.” And that’s that.

update: Anwar Abdulrahman, that doyen of democracy and righteousness has also spoken about this subject in his column in today’s GDN:

This must reflect the extreme naivety of producer Hala Qorani, who has allowed herself and her film crew to be lured into exaggerated and unrepresentative situations.

I wonder what they hoped to achieve by such blatantly untrue, unfair and biased reporting. Bahrain is presently buzzing on the cusp of an economic boom, which must have been obvious to these cameramen and ‘journalists’ as they toured various parts of the country.

Ironically also, such irresponsible reportage has been released when the United Nations has bestowed high honour on our Prime Minister for his key role in human development, placing the urban poor at the very centre of Bahrain’s modernisation strategy.

can you smell the roses yet?


Bahraini Blogwars

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There is an excellent investigative and opinion piece in Al-Wasat today about blogs and blogging in Bahrain by Adel Marzooq (Arabic). He raises quite a number of questions which require some mulling over and addressed – maybe at our next bloggers’ gathering or through a series of posts (or podcasts?) as thinking about them can enrich the blogging experience here.

He purports for instance that Al-Wasat is the only national newspaper giving blogs full attention, and that is very true, we are not mentioned on a regular basis in any of the other Arabic papers. Both English papers do cover us quite well with features and reports. The other Arabic papers might want to investigate why Al-Wasat is choosing to dedicate an editor to follow our writings, that might open up an avenue to them which has so far escaped them. I would refer them to what Dr. Gergash thinks of blogs and how the political leadership is viewing this new media.

Another issue Adel raises is the cliquey nature of blogs in Bahrain as he categorises us in various strata: bourgoise, personal in nature, political, opposition, activist, little people, etc.

He also suggests that a state of “war” exists in the Bahraini blogosphere as some choose to have only their close blogfriends in their links sections and fight tooth and nail to remove any “outsider” to be considered for inclusion in that blogroll, which clearly demonstrates the cliquiness of the enterprise, he claims. I am not sure I agree with his assertions; as an example, I can say from personal experience that I removed the blogroll because it got to be too long and messy to have, and as I have the aggigator for Bahraini blogs anyway, I just link to one site which contains all of those that I track on a daily basis. The other non-Bahraini sites I do read are all publicly available in my bloglines list. It’s just how I choose to “neatify” things, and I’m anal about that!

He’s got other points of view as well as far as the effectiveness of this new medium and of course its reach in the community, which he says is starting to erode the traditional fora, the main reason of which is the easy availability of free hosting platforms and of course the ability of the writer to be his own master, rather than be beholden to forum moderators.

It’s a good read as I said and is an honest attempt to address blogs in the first serious major Arabic national newspaper in Bahrain.

Well done my friend and thank you very much for your attention. Now we need to talk to the Shura Councilors to ensure that they don’t leave us high and dry when the new Press & Publications Law is discussed.


The effectiveness of Bahrain blogs

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The Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich has released an in-depth report about blogs and forums in Bahrain and how they affected the political discourse in this country:

Bahrain in transition, from blog to street

The large and rapidly diversifying Bahraini blogosphere is opening up fields of discussion and debate that could never have occurred in Bahrain’s traditional media. While traditional media in Bahrain are controlled through a royal monopoly, the now-registered blogs remain relatively free. As a consequence of the historic roots of Bahraini blogging, vociferous opinion journalism has developed, taking the lead in confronting issues critically in a way that the timid printed media cannot. Because of this, Internet users have access to a much greater diversity of issues than those who rely on traditional media.

You can read the full report here.

Thanks for the heads-up HT!


Demonstration at Parliament on Thursday, be there!

«الصحفيين» تدعو للاعتصام أمــــام «النيــابي» الخميــس المقبــل

ناشدت جمعية الصحفيين البحرينية جموع الصحافيين والمثقفين والفنانين البحرينيين ”الاعتصام أمام مجلس النواب الخميس المقبل، احتجاجا على مجمل ما أنتجه المجلس في دورته الحالية من قرارات ولجان تحقيق بحق الثقافة والإبداع وحرية الكلمة”.

وفي سياق متصل، استغربت الجمعية في بيان أصدرته أمس (الأحد) رفض لجنة الشؤون التشريعية بالمجلس رفع الحصانة عن عضو كتلة المنبر الإسلامي النائب محمد خالد في القضية التي رفعها ضده رئيس الجمعية عيسى الشايجي.

وعبرت الجمعية في بيانها عن ”كامل تضامنها مع الزميل الشايجي فيما تعرض له من إهانة وقذف مباشر من قبل النائب خالد”ØŒ معربة عن قلقها من ”اتجاه الكتل النيابية الأعضاء في اللجنة للمساس بحرية الصحافة وقمعها معتمدين على الحصانة النيابية ”ØŒ وفق البيان. واعتبرت الجمعية، هذا الموقف من قبل النواب ”مخزٍ، ويطرح الكثير من الأسئلة عن مصداقية المجلس من جهة وعن تلك الوعود التي أطلقوها في الدفاع عن الصحافيين وإصدار قانون صحافة متطور من جهة أخرى”.

The Bahrain Journalists Association has called for a demonstration in front of the Parliament building this Thursday at 5pm 4.30pm to show to denounce the dearth of parliamentary output in its first session.

The BJA also expresses its deep concern for parliament’s refusal to remove MP Mohammed Khaled’s parliamentary immunity so that he can be tried in a case levied against him by the president of the BJA Isa Al-Shaiji for defamation and slander.

I plan to be there, it is important to demonstrate to the “people’s representatives” that they are anything but. Especially with the ridiculous efforts exerted by them collectively to restrict personal and all other freedoms.


It’s those Joooz! That’s who’se behind Darfur!

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I found and sat next to our friend Mr. Ameen Hassan Omar at lunch. I wanted to talk to him to see where his aligations that the International Crises Group is a biased source and that they should never be trusted.

He obliged and explained his position more fully:

He claims that the ICG has conducted seminars in London about Darfur in the Haulocaust memorial, meaning, (to him) that they are Jewish Zionists against Sudan’s Islmamic government specifically. It is a conspiracy, he contends, against not only Sudan and Darfur but the whole Muslim world.

When I suggested that their holding their seminar at the Haulacaust memorial might be because they wanted to draw attention to parallels, he scoffed. It’s the Jooze!

I chose to have my dessert elsewhere.


A moment in history, a MULTICAST!

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The next session, which I am part of, is supposed to make history in that it is going to be broadcast on Al-Jazeera live, Abu Dhabi TV, on BBC radio and streamed on bbcarabic.com and will accept not only audience participation but also through email.

The interesting thing is that Egyptian judge who is suing 21 Egyptian blogs is supposed to make an appearance via satellite. Other than the plagiarism issue, do you have any other issues you would like to put to him?

Send your questions (and plenty of them!) to [email protected]

Somebody go and tell the Egyptian bloggers about this please!

It should be interesting. Obviously I’ll blog about them later.

update: the guy chickened out and sent his lawyer in his stead who successfully epitomised and justified all those jokes about lawyers.


Al-Watan is at it again

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Sectarianism in this country continues to increase, alhamdullillah, propagated by newspapers and writers specifically created and well funded for the purpose, as exposed in that report which we are not allowed to mention. Since its publication it seems the paper that carries the illustrious name of “The Nation” has increased the spread of its poison; is this the in response to it feeling death closing by and thus wants to spread as much hate as possible before that certain eventuality?

Whatever it is, the only way to defeat such sectarianism is not to give in to it and expose it wherever and whenever you encounter it no matter how small the incident is. The more exposed this poison gets, the better the community as a whole will be for it because what will be done is raising the community’s collective awareness of the problem and forcing everyone to think of better ways to tackle the issues and hopefully goading us to realise that the only way forward in this spic of a country is to embrace tolerism and realise that the others might be right in their views too.

Therefore, I would like to thank both Lulu and Gardens of Sand for exposing Al-Watan and its sectarian content and ideology whose only motive in personally attacking a member of parliament is sectarian. The MP was simply standing for what she believed was right, a position that she shared with the opposition in parliament which happens to be composed of a Shi’a majority.


MENA Media Managers fellowships announced

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18 Arab Media Managers to win a six-week fellowship in the US

irex-logo.gifMarch 2007. Arab media managers and supervisors will have a unique opportunity this fall to enhance their leadership skills and find innovative solutions to the challenges they face in media management through a comprehensive six-week fellowship that will include intense training at the prestigious Northwestern University Media Management Center in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois and on-site placements at US media outlets across the country.

The fellowship program is organized and implemented by IREX and AmmanNet and is one element of MENA MEDIA, a three-year program aimed at enhancing independent media in the Arab region with support from the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative.

Media professionals with at least five years of media experience from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, West Bank and Gaza will be invited to apply. Up to 18 fellows will be selected this spring with participants traveling to the US in the fall.

As part of its commitment to encouraging the continued advancement of women in the region, in 2007 MEPI added funding for an additional six female participants. The original 12 fellowships will be open to competition by all applicants in the region.

The program will provide participants with the opportunity to develop leadership and management skills while experiencing different approaches to media management. The training will include courses on: Leadership, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Advertising, Electronic Media, Digital and Print Media, and Global Best Practices, among others. After the training, each fellow will complete a two-week fellowship with a mentor at an assigned US media outlet, which will consist of a number of different meetings, responsibilities, and levels of project involvement based on the expertise and goals of the fellow.

Applicants are required to have a high level of proficiency in written and spoken English. Deadline for applications is April 30, 2007.

I’m sure some of our journalists can take advantage of this. For more information, please see the IREX and the AmmanNet.net websites.

Good luck!