Such has been the role of bloggers and citizen journalists in fueling the region's season of fury against dictatorship, they are being seen as a threat to status quo. Now a campaign of arrest, intimidation and harassment is being launched against them.
In Bahrain, cyber activists and bloggers are facing intense scrutiny from the authorities and also from those who support the current government, says France24.
“Mohamed Al-Maskati, better known under the pseudonym of “Emoodz” has been held in an unknown location since the 30th of March. The young man has been particularly active on his blog and social networks, where he discussed recent events in his country and in the Arab World. According to the organization “Reporters without Borders“, Al-Maskati reportedly received threats via Twitter shortly before his arrest from a member of the royal family. Web users have been campaigning for his release ever since, by setting up a “Free emoodz” thread and this blog on the micro blogging site.
And like Al-Maskati, dozens of influential bloggers and campaigners for freedom of expression have been targeted by the authorities”
Dubai, supposedly open minded oasis with business and foreigner friendly environment, a blogger demanding reform was arrested. Eurasia Review says,
“An emirate paper said on Sunday that police in Dubai had arrested a blogger and a human rights activist, Ahmad Mansur, who has reportedly urged free elections and called for reforms in the country.
The National paper said police in Dubai had started a criminal investigation against Mansur but declined to specify the charges.”
Even more surprising that “oepn” Dubai's about face are events in Egypt. Middle East's season of fury's toast and pride is now slipping. Los Angeles Times reports that a blogger was sentenced to three years in prision for criticizing the military.
“Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested March 28 after writing on a blog that “he was providing evidence proving that the military has been deceiving Egyptians” during and after the 18-day revolt that started Jan. 25 and ended with Mubarak’s ouster. A military council of top generals now runs the country.
Human rights advocates expressed puzzlement at Sanad’s sentence, especially after his lawyers were assured on Sunday that his judgment wouldn't be announced until Tuesday. But late Sunday he was discreetly found guilty and sentenced to jail.”
What sort of democracy was promised to the people of Egypt where criticizing military is a punishable crime? and the sentence is given out “discreetly”?
It is clear that those who desire and demand status quo are not willing to relent, they are willing to hit back at any effort to install truly open system. When “free” Egypt feels the need to fear bloggers, what can we expect from others who still proudly wear their autocracy?