Omani Blogger Threatened With Deportation
Freedom House is worried for the safety and well-being of Omani activist Ammar Al Mamari, a law student in Jordan, who was recently threatened with deportation if he does not stop his activism. If Al Mamari is forced to return to Oman, he will be unable to complete his studies and is likely to face formal charges. The Jordanian government contacted Al Mamari’s family in Oman - urging them to pressure Al Mamari to end his activism. Freedom House calls on the Jordanian government to prevent Al Mamari’s deportation and allow him to continue his studies. The Omani government must respect the rights and freedoms of its people, and allow Al Mamari to express his views online without fear of imprisonment. He established his blog – “I wish I have wings” - in 2008, documenting the behavior of security services in suppressing the protests in Oman.
Jordan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2011. Charges against Jordanian citizens for “criticizing the king” occur regularly. While the government approved a code of conduct several years ago with the intention of fostering a “free and independent media,” journalists still are closely watched by intelligence agencies and face harassment. Bloggers have been arrested by Jordanian authorities; many practice self-censorship. In February 2012, female blogger Enass Mussallam was stabbed after she criticized a member of the royal family on her blog.
Oman is rated Not Free in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press surveys – and has some of the most restrictive press and publication laws in the Arab world. Despite the limited opening of the telecommunications sector, the government still exercises considerable control over and censors the internet. The “Internet Service Manual” stipulates a lengthy list of prohibited content, including defamation of the ruling family, rumors and false data. The government also routinely blocks websites deemed sexually offensive or politically controversial.