Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bahraini Authorities block websites and indirectly support others

Bahraini authorities block websites that criticize government policies, and indirectly support other websites that criticize activists

Report By: Bahrain Youth Society for Human RightsManama: 8 August 2007
Bahraini authorities launched a campaign against political and human rights websites, which criticize government policies. The internet is the only space for free conversations on political and human rights issues. There is no fear from arbitrary arrest or security chase online. However, the Bahraini government is not happy with this and subsequently blocked some websites within Bahrain in order to prevent citizens from expressing their own views, particularly critical ones that may not be discussed by Bahraini newspapers because of the many laws hindering freedom of press in Bahrain.
Blocked Websites:
Bahrain center for Human Rights (BCHR):The Bahraini authorities blocked the website of the Bahraini non-governmental organization because of publishing reports that criticize the government, particularly Al-Bandar report. Yet, BCHR is still working.
URL: www.bahrainrights.orgCountry: Bahrain
Bahrain Forums:It is an online messaging forum. Its moderators publish press coverage on various events taking place in Bahrain, particularly political and human rights events. They also publish critical articles by political dissidents and human rights activists about the policies adopted by the government.
URL: www.montadayat.orgCountry: Bahrain
National Edifice Forums:It is an online messaging forum. Its moderators published important press materials on security practices in Bahrain. Such practices include security men attacks on citizens during peaceful events. That is in addition to covering all political and human rights events with photos.
URL: www.wattani.netCountry: Bahrain
Al-Saheefa website:It is the website of Al-Saheefa newspaper. Many writers from Bahrain and other countries publish their articles on Al-Saheefa website. However, the website was blocked because of the articles of Bahraini writers on political life and government practices.
URL: www.alsaheefa.netCountry: Bahrain
Modern Discussion website:It is a cultural website interested in publishing thoughts on liberalism. The website provides intellectuals discussions on democracy, human rights, and liberalism in the Arab world. Some of the writers write about Bahraini domestic issues and criticize the government. One reason for blocking the website is the discussions on human rights situation in Bahrain. Another reason for blocking is the pressure of powerful Islamic trends in Bahrain.
URL: www.rezgar.comCountry: Global
Bahrain Times website:It includes sarcastic cartoons on some governmental officials. Bahraini authority blocked the website because of the massive increase in the number of cartoons of VIP officials. The website was hacked by unidentified users.
URL: www.bahraintimes.orgCountry: Bahrain
The Critic website:It is a liberal website interested in criticizing extremist Islamic groups, which launch criminal attacks against other Muslims from different doctrines. The website aims at unveiling terrorists and exposing their practices. Bahraini authorities blocked the website because of the control of Islamists – criticized by the website – on high positions in the government.
URL: www.annaqed.comCountry: Global
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo):It the website of regional non-governmental organization, interested in publishing press releases from Bahraini and other Arab NGOs. The reason for blocking is publishing press releases from Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights. The Bahraini government believes that these NGOs are illegal. In addition, HRinfo website launched many campaigns in support of Bahraini domestic issues.
URL: www.hrinfo.netCountry: Egypt
Al-Duraz Forums:It is an online messaging forum for citizens of Duraz village. The website was very active in Bahrain. It includes discussion sections visited by large numbers of visitors. It also allows political and human rights discussions, which may criticize Bahraini government.
URL: www.alduraz.netCountry: Bahrain
Bahrain Online:It is an online messaging forum. Its moderators succeeded to make it one of the most important websites in Bahrain. The website includes large number of visitors and many news stories on Bahrain. The local newspapers in Bahrain use this website to get news stories and press materials. Authorities blocked the website and arrested it moderators who were released later because of the support of local and international NGOs.
URL: www.bahrainonline.orgCountry: Bahrain
Note: Bahraini authorities blocked other websites, which are not mentioned in this report. The
report focused on important and active websites.
The websites criticizing activists and indirectly supported by the government:
Bahrain Forums:It is an online messaging forum. Its moderators focus on targeting political and human rights figures and smearing their reputations. The moderators provide protection for forum members who advocate sectarianism between (Shiite and Sunni) Muslims. The website also enhances citizens’ loyalty to the government and criticizing any political writings against the government by allowing forum members – pseudonym names – to criticize the dissident writers.
URL: www.bahrainforums.comCountry: Bahrain
Alwatan Movement:government political movement, the site of the bustling operation targeting directly to some political movements opposed to the government, as well as to activists in the Bahraini human rights organizations, where Based on the site attempting to change the words of some data or news for targeting activists and try them to tarnish reputations and accused of terrorism and sabotage, and the site has, in turn, the founding of the Movement for targeting activists and not for other purposes, and that the movement’s role in the targeting of many political activists and human rights criticizing the government.
URL: / bahvoiceCountry: Bahrain
Bahrain Human Rights Watch:Bahrain Human Rights Watch is a governmental organization, which harasses local human rights organizations through smearing their reputations and claiming that Bahraini NGOs uses children to protect unlicensed strikes and rallies. BHRWS claimed that NGOs are terrorist organizations funded by foreign governments. It also published such defaming articles in both Arabic and English on its website with photos. The website said that the purpose of publishing such articles is to prevent NGOs from exploiting innocent children.
URL: www.bhrws.orgCountry: Bahrain
Indirect targeting at news websites:
Aafaq website:It is a news website interested in covering human rights and democracy issues in the Arab world. The website covers political and human rights events in Bahrain with photos. However, from time to time, some of technicians from Bahrain General Intelligence Bureau hack the website and add offending comments against human rights activists. It also uses the names of activists and dissidents to write their own comments in a vulgar language against other political activists.

URL: www.aafaq.orgCountry: United States of America
Note: Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights would like to send special thanks and appreciation to online activists who helped in collecting necessary information to create this report.