Bahrain Government Continues Confrontation with Media
Nabeel Rajab, who has over 140,000 followers on Twitter, was arrested on charges of ”inciting illegal rallies and marches online by using social networking websites.” A coalition of opposition groups released a joint statement calling for Rajab’s release, saying, “This is yet further proof and confirmation of the absence of freedom of speech in Bahrain.”
The Al Jazeera documentary about Bahrain’s uprisings that caused a stir on Twitter, titled “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark,” received nearly 900,000 votes after Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa took to Twitter to urge his 80,000 followers to vote against the documentary. “For a British entertainment website to become a battleground between Bahrain government loyalists and its opponents has been an unexpected and extraordinary turn of events,” Tim Glanfield, acting editor for RadioTimes.com, said.
Marc Owen Jones says Bahrain’s media reform is inadequate, and points out the hypocrisy in its cyber crime policy. Rajab was arrested for “cyber incitement,” while @7areghum, a Twitter account that was specifically mentioned in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report that targets anti-government protesters, is still running. The report reads, “The Commission considers such harassment to be a violation of a person’s right to privacy while also amounting to hate speech and incitement to violence,” referring to @7areghum revealing protesters’ locations and personal information.
Al Jazeera speaks to several activists who discuss their opinions on a range of issues such as Sunni involvement in the opposition, which stories need more media coverage, and the changing role of the youth in protest movements.