Bloggers In The Middle East.
The Economist covers the plight of bloggers in the Middle East:
“GOVERNMENTS in the Middle East are getting increasingly twitchy about their citizens’ activities online. In Egypt, on Sunday April 10th, a blogger, Mikael Sanad Nabil, was sentenced to three years in prison for “insulting the military” in his blog postings, after a brief trial by a military court with no defence lawyers present. Other bloggers worry they may be next. Campaigners say the mainstream media are already fearful of criticising the army.
In Bahrain, two months after anti-government protests began, bloggers have been caught up in a sweeping crackdown in which at least 450 people have been arrested for being “political activists”. Zakariya Rashid Hassan, who ran a online forum for residents of his village, Al Dair, died in custody last week, six days after being arrested for “spreading false news”. His forum has been taken down and replaced with a picture of the Saudi and Bahraini kings. Human-rights groups allege he was tortured; the authorities say his death was due to anaemia.
Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based lobby, says three other “netizens” remain in custody in Bahrain. At least three other bloggers have been arrested, including two who campaign against sectarianism, Mahmood Al Yousif and @redbelt, the founder of #uniteBH, an online campaign. A similar movement has sprung up in Lebanon. These three have now been released, but at a time when hundreds have been fired from their jobs for taking part—or on suspicion of taking part—in protests, their arrests have sent a clear warning to Bahrainis. Even the country’s national football team has sacked four star players for being “against the government”. “
Update 1: This is just part of a wider issue:
Update 2: NPR’s Bahrain Detains Activist After Crackdown On Dissent is worth a read too.