“War on Bloggers” / Freedom of Speech

It’s really hard to put into words just how it feels to be a blogger here in Oman while threats continue to be placed in the papers about what can happen to bloggers if they write something that those in authority might interpret as “rumors” or “damaging”.  While I might not be able to find the words, some more eloquent writers have done a decent job of summing up the mood among many here.

First there’s Nick Smith who runs the often entertaining and amusing “Wordsmith” Column for Muscat Daily.  I’ve really come to admire his writing style and his common sense approach to things.  He wrote this insightful piece on “Freedom of Speech” yesterday on Monday, June 18th:

I really loved the whole article and I couldn’t agree more with the last 4 sentences in that piece.  Thanks for sharing this Mr. Smith!

Next, there is my favorite reporter in Oman, Susan Mubarak, who wrote today’s article titled “War on Bloggers“:

As always, Susan makes some compelling arguments and skillfully transforms the readers’ thoughts into print as we follow her through her article.  I find it rather interesting that the article, when printed, was first titled “War on Bloggers” but is now titled “Warn on Bloggers” on the on-line edition.  I’m sure there’s quite an interesting back story to how that came about. (Turns out this was just a typo on their part and the online version now reads “War on Bloggers”!)

Anyway, thanks again to the Muscat Daily team for doing an outstanding job on reporting the true scene here in the Sultanate.  There’s a reason I look for your paper first on the shelf and I usually only make due with the others after MD has been sold out. (There always seem to be plenty of the other publications available on the shelves…)  Compare these fair and balanced reportings from Muscat Daily with this shameful piece from the Oman Tribune from yesterday (June 18th) titled “Negative Writing Bane of Society, Say Citizens”.

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15 responses to ““War on Bloggers” / Freedom of Speech

  1. Excellent post, Andy!!

    • Thanks, Cathy. Just sharing a few fantastic articles that I enjoyed with you all. The only thing I really contributed myself was taking the time to arrange those blogger-related-words on the scrabble board, haha!

      • Which was an excellent visual, by the way!! I know, you’re really good at finding these articles that OTHER people have written and sharing them with us. I have to say good for them and good for you…. 🙂

  2. I always wondered…now I see…hey, have a friend moving to Kuwait – will be an English elementary teacher – are you good for me to pass your blog to him for encouragement?

    • Evan,
      I wish your friend all the best in Kuwait as a teacher. Please do pass on my blog address to him. No prob! I just realized that I haven’t added you to my blogroll (even though I’m subscribed to receive each of your posts). I have really been encouraged by your writings over the months so thanks for your inspiration and dedication. Keep up the great blogging!

  3. If I don’t comment on your blog every week, come look for me in jail arrite. Deal? :p .

  4. Antony,
    If they ever throw you in the slammer (except in the case of a good reason! ;-), I’ll be the first one to make a protest sign and walk up and down demanding your release, my friend! 😉

  5. A very interesting post. To me, blogging is about making connections, sharing something in common. My passion is about my family and the nature around me. Seeking what is fun and what brings joy in my life and it looks like I’m not the only one out there. Great post. Thanks.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Blogging, to me, is all the things you mentioned above and so much more. I really enjoyed your last few posts centred around Father’s Day, parenting and spending time with your son. Thanks for inspiring!

  6. i enjoyed Nick Smith article which is fair in terms of facts. It is really important to know that when people misuse the freedom of speech to insult others and make rumors about the society should be arrested and dealt with. No one likes to be scandaled and blackened unfairly.
    However, I don’t agree With Sausan article which i think far away from truth.

    • Omani Thinker,
      You are entitled to your opinion (as faulty as some of it may be)…and I won’t threaten you with prison if I happen to disagree with you! 😉 At least we agree that Nick Smith’s article was enjoyable. You may not “agree with Susan’s article” (be very careful about criticizing that fine reporter on this blog…) but you have not given any specific details of just where you think she is “far away from truth”. The fact that you didn’t mention what exactly is wrong with the article tends to make me think that it’s more personal and perhaps some of her facts hit a little too close to home there. I think you need to reread that article and take note of some clear facts that she is simply reporting if you check up on what Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reported. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Omani Thinker

    Thank you Andy for you comment and sorry for not replying sooner.
    Nothing personal between me and Susan. In fact she is one of my favourite writers and bloggers. However, I don’t agree with the facts she mentioned in her article and let me explain why. Susan said that the fine lines between criticism and insults are not clear. Well, I totally disagree with her since the way she writes tells me she is fully aware of those lines. See how logical and respectful her reporting is and compare it with ‘insulting’.

    Another thing is that if ‘Andy’ writes or does something I disagree with, why would I attack him and not his actions?? Any ideas about the things those arrested had written and posted online? My friend sent me some of these postings and they are really disgusting and disgraceful.

    Susan said ‘denying them immediate access to their lawyers’. Is this true? No. the public prosecutor explained that no one of those arrested was denied access to his lawyer. Family members of some, I talked with one of them, confirmed that too. Same thing happened when some people, for a reason I don’t know, said that detainees were treated horribly. One of the detainees said after her release that she was treated in a nice way. You know why we have such deceitful stories? Because this is what human rights groups and organizations want!!!

    • Omani Thinker,
      Of course you are entitled to your opinion. I have no idea what was posted but I have to agree with Susan that the law is unclear. (At least it is to me.) Thanks for stopping by once again. I do understand where you’re coming from about human rights groups and organizations sometimes trying to stir things up. Amnesty International is one such example with a lot of well-earned criticism for their one-sided reporting.

  8. Pingback: Omani political blogging sphere « moosaallawati

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