Blog archive: Bahrain

  • 29th July 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One of the funniest comedy sketches shown on British television featured the Ministry of Silly Walks – an imaginary government department whose task was to encourage silly ways of walking and provide funding for their development. I was reminded of this yesterday when Bahrain's information...
  • 28th July 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    For several weeks now there has been growing evidence that Twitter is being used for a covert and highly organised propaganda operation which disparages Shia Muslims while supporting the Sunni Muslim governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The tactic is to deluge Twitter with multiple copies of...
  • 18th July 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain stepped up its suppression of critics yesterday by dissolving the kingdom's main opposition party, al-Wefaq, and confiscating its funds. An announcement by the government news agency said the party, which was founded in 2001, had "provided an environment" that embraced...
  • 9th July 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A British MP who recently went on two trips to Bahrain paid for by the repressive Gulf kingdom's rulers is due to return the favour next week by hosting a reception in the House of Commons "celebrating" 200 years of Bahraini-British relations. Last October, Bahrain's foreign ministry...
  • 29th June 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The dissemination of hate speech on Twitter is an obvious cause for concern. Until recently it seems to have relied mainly on the efforts of bigoted individuals and – although there is a lot of it – the need for manual posting has set some limits on how many offensive tweets there might be. But...
  • 23rd June 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A few months ago I began to feel that something odd was happening whenever I posted a tweet about Bahrain. My tweets, usually critical of Bahrain's government, rapidly disappeared from view – pushed down the #bahrain live Twitter feed by lots of newer tweets, mostly supporting the Bahraini...
  • 22nd June 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Twitter announced yesterday that it has suspended hundreds of apparently fake accounts that have been posting sectarian tweets directed against Shia Muslims. Marc Owen Jones, who lectures in Gulf politics at Tübingen University in Germany, began investigating when he noticed a series of...
  • 16th May 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Today Queen Elizabeth will deliver her annual speech to the British parliament setting out the government's programme for the next 12 months. High on the list of proposals is a renewed effort to combat "extremism", and one idea is to establish a register of "extremists" – similar to the...
  • 4th April 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The headline on the story Gulf News published and then removed   A headline on the Emirati website, Gulf News, caught my eye yesterday. It said: "British House of Commons praises human rights in UAE". Reading the story below the headline it became clear that the "praise" – if that...
  • 20th March 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One year ago this month, an event occurred in Bahrain which – to quote Gulf News – "shook the nation to the core". A secondary-school student and two teachers were arrested and Bahrain's parliament established a special committee to investigate the matter. Its official title was the "Committee...
  • 27th February 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are smart dictators and foolish dictators. The smart ones stay out of the limelight and don't make waves internationally. The rest of the world then lets them get on with their dictating and doesn't usually interfere. The foolish ones, not content with having a country to run more or less...
  • 21st February 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Perhaps it's a sense of their own insecurity that makes Bahrain's royals so eager to "win" obscure and meaningless awards which can then be trumpeted in the Gulf kingdom's media. There was a notorious occasion in 2013 when King Hamad, in the midst of ongoing repression, was named "...

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