Bahrain blocks website over attack calls
Manama, April 6, 2011
A Bahrain website that collected names and addresses of security personnel and encouraged people to attack them is among those to have been blocked by authorities, it has emerged.
However, a senior Information Affairs Authority's (IAA) Publications and Press Directorate official said the government had no intention of blocking social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Press and Publications acting director Khalid Alarabi admitted such sites were being monitored, but would not comment further on cases referred to security authorities for action.
However, he accused some users of posting 'objectionable' content and photographs, as well as spreading false news.
'We are monitoring all online content, but are not aggressive in our approach of blocking websites,' Alarabi told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN) yesterday.
'People have full right to express themselves peacefully, but calling for violence and uprising is not the way.
'There is clear pressure on some people who want to speak and be heard. But they should be fair and do not cross the red line.'
He said one website that had been blocked asked people to provide personal details of police and military personnel.
During recent unrest the homes of some police and military personal were marked with paint to identify residents as members of the security forces.
'Users (of the website) were asked to fill forms with addresses, vehicle numbers, names and photographs of police and military personnel,' added Alarabi.
'Some even went further and called on people to vandalise their houses or cars.
'This is unacceptable, the police and military are here to protect the people of Bahrain. But some people behind this website wanted to harm them.'
Al Alarabi declined to comment on exactly how many sites had been blocked.
However, he claimed authorities were only denying access to those that posted extreme content or encouraged violence.
'Such Internet content is causing panic among people and spreading false information,' he said.
'But now several ministries such as the Interior Ministry and Information Affairs Authority have official accounts on social networking websites to give accurate information.'-TradeArabia News Service