Ministry of Information Amends Law and Human Rights Activists Demand Expansion of Freedoms

Members of Parliament, human rights activists and internet experts praised the amendment presented by the Ministry of Culture and Information of article 19 of the Decree No. 47 of 2002, regarding the organization of printing and publishing in Bahrain. The amendment prevents the Ministry from temporarily blocking websites of e-newspapers unless

Abdulnabi Al Ekri
court permission is obtained. They also demanded that the amendment cover all websites and not only online newspapers, and expressed their unease with the fact that the Minister of Information still has the authority over the organization of the internet, which could lead to the issuing of wrong decisions. Abdulnabi Al Ekri , Head of the Bahrain Transparency Society, said the amendment was insufficient, and demanded that the Judiciary should have the last say in any decision to block websites. He also stressed that there was a need for more freedom and that laws regulating the press in Bahrain should coincide with the level of existing freedoms, and should work to increase them. AL Ekri also pointed out that website administrators should have the right to file complaints against the Ministry of Information for the decision to block their websites.