Update Nov 2nd: Mahmood’s Blog is back!
Mahmood is a prominent Bahraini/Arab blogger. His blog is the most famous one in Bahrain. His blog tagline read: “intelligent… informative… and fun!” and it is.
I just came from a quick visit to Mahmood and he looked very optimistic about unblocking his blog soon.
Immediately after Mahmood made the announcement, he received endless support calls from friends all around the world. He was interviewed in at least three Bahraini daily newspapers and his news will be published tomorrow in Al-Wasat, GDN and Bahrain Tribune. Several letters went out to some NGO’s to support unblocking Mahmood’s Blog.
Few hours after Mahmood published the official memo, his blog is going up and down due to unexpected bandwidth load from visitors and supporters.
Following is a list of the web sites ordered to be blocked in today’s official memo (click on thumbnail to enlarge):
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Among the above list, only Mahmood’s blog is a Bahraini. Other web sites vary between news, religious and entertainment web sites.
Usually, no explanation is given to the web sites owners about the reason their web sites are blocked. However, looking at the official memo, it refers the press law no. 47, passed in 2002, which then added further restrictions on freedom of expression including the prohibition of “defamation of the person of the king and royal family members.” On 24 April, 2005, the Information Ministry issued a decree instructing web site and blog moderators of any site that included information on Bahrain to register with the Ministry and to assume responsibility for all materials published online.
In the past, authorities have blocked access to a number of political sites, including those of opposition groups, because the officials claim that these sites incite “sectarianism” and contain “offensive content.” The criteria for making such determinations, though, are not clear. In some cases, the Ministry of Information claimed it blocked only sites that seek to “create tension between people and to provoke resentful sectarianism.”