A couple of years ago, I suggested to Mahmood in passing developing a code of ethics for bloggers in Bahrain. It would be more of a guidebook on how to approach blogging which is more necessary now than ever before in the light of new laws, developments and overnight influx of new avid bloggers on the Bahraini blogosphere.

Although we may laugh at this or that and consider them as things which will never happen to us..you really never know. You may be next for a post you published with good intent or for the heck of it .. or in my case for taking the piss out of something I can't react to in my hypocritical existence.. and will one day wake up to face the music.

Also.. for me at least.. such worries are taking away the fun of blogging :) What is a blog if we are to exercise self-censorship in every other word we write? How do we protect ourselves? How do we exercise our right to freedom of speech without being labelled as traitors to our countries, religion and God?


Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

The code of ethics has been published on my site with a permanent link to it inviting people to discuss it since May 2006.

Sadly no one did, or maybe everyone just agreed with it and promptly forgot all about it and did things by their own book.

The points you make are real and serious. I have been invited along with Mohammed (emoodz) to present about this particular subject (blocking of sites in Bahrain) at a forthcoming Bahrain Youth Human Rights Society workshop on March 1st and this code of ethics is going to be central to my talk to help upcoming bloggers understand the trouble they might fall into if they do not take care of what they write.

Mohammed Al-Othman is going to precede our session by explaining the Bahraini libel law to attendees.

I'll publish the calendar of events when it is finalised.

It is important that workshops like these continue to be done to describe and help bloggers understand where the cracks in the law are and how to avoid them.

I'm also working on a much deeper workshop with the help of MEPI and IREX to be done for Gulf-based bloggers to discuss the liability laws in detail by lawyers and journalists from the region to educate us about these things.

Stopping blogging is not an option really. The genie will never go back to its lamp, so we must find ways to tame the laws and effectively lobby to make them internet/publishing friendly.

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