Freedom in the World
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In January 2010, authorities dropped slander charges against A’sem al-Sheedi, a journalist who had published an article in December 2009 alleging the presence of corruption in the Omani police force. During the year, Oman’s primary internet provider, Omantel, continued to block websites whose content was deemed immoral.
Oman is not an electoral democracy. Citizens elect the 84-member Consultative Council for four-year terms, but the chamber has no legislative powers and can only recommend changes to new laws. The Consultative Council is part of a bicameral body known as the Council of Oman. The other chamber, the 59-member State Council, is appointed by the sultan, who has absolute power and issues laws by decree. The sultan serves as the country’s prime minister; heads the ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Finance; and is the governor of Oman’s central bank.