Several weeks ago, The trial of 25 Bahrainis including bloggers Ali Abdulemam and Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace in what has been called the “Terror Network” accused of instigating violence against the state and broadcasting “false news about the situation in Bahrain”, started with a blanket ban over Bahrain’s news outlets covering the trial.
The media blackout came in the shape of local journalists complying to the Public Prosecution requests, in addition to foreign news agencies not being able to film the trials because all their equipment was held at customs such as the BBC.
The only means of getting any information or insights came from citizen journalism.
Nabeel Rajab, Head of the now dissolved Bahrain Centre of Human Rights (BCHR), has been turned from human rights activist and observer into a news coverage reporter by force and necessity. He has been using social media such as Twitter (@Nabeelrajab), Facebook and Bahrainonline.com as platforms to spread the word.
The most impressive and effective use of technology is bambuser.com, a web broadcasting service. Rajab uses his mobile phone to record short interviews with MPs, the defendants’ lawyers and family members whilst sitting outside the Ministry of Justice where the trial is being held. Such coverage has helped clear many issues and focused on the allegations of torture towards the defendants.
We are in need of more tech savvy and courageous people to cover these trials and give a bigger, better and impartial picture of what is going on. The tools are out there for the picking, we just need YOU!
– The next hearing will be on December 9th..
The two videos above show two contrasting images. The first, with the ‘symbolic’ toppling of Saddam Hussain’s statue in Baghdad, where hundreds of ‘Iraqis’ gathered round the statue throwing sandals and shoes at the fallen leader’s statue. This was five years ago…
The second video shows an even stronger image, the now imfamous shoe throw from Iraqi Journalist Montadhir Al-Zaidi less than five days ago.
Throwing shoes at a person is the lowest act done to a person. It symbolizes that the person being thrown at is merely a dog or an animal. A person not even worthy of having a sword raised or arrow aimed at. The funniest thing about that video was that Bush just said ‘Shukran Jazeelan’ (Thank you in Arabic) and was replied by two speedily thrown shoes that would make all the stone throwers in Palestine proud.
I think that the latter images define the war in Iraq, with the Americans thinking that they did a good job whilst the Iraqis want them out of their business!