Bahrain’s premier has backed Saudi Arabia’s plan for the creation of a Gulf union, a report said Sunday, but the nation’s Shia opposition is demanding the proposal be put to a referendum.
The “option of a (Gulf Cooperation Council) union has become urgent,” Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman was quoted as saying by the Saudi Al-Riyadh daily.
Khalifa said the six GCC nations, whose foreign ministers were meeting in Riyadh ahead of a meeting of their countries’ leaders in the Saudi capital on Monday, must cooperate to ensure security in the region.
The GCC must “concentrate during this period on achieving and ensuring security and increasing coordination in the fields of security, military and defense by adopting a unified Gulf security structure to protect the council’s states,” Khalifa told the newspaper.
The GCC leaders at their Monday meeting are expected to discuss a Saudi proposal to develop their six-nation council into a union, possibly starting with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Sometimes it’s better to repress with a buddy.
On this World Press Freedom Day, Al-Akhbar looks at the state of the journalistic freedom in various parts of the Arab World.
The piece mostly discusses Syria, Lebanon, and the Gulf countries:
Syria: The Fourth Estate is Lost in the Dark
A quick survey of the events of the past year is enough to reveal the bleak state of the media in Syria and the injustice and brutality it suffers. If we take a look at the numbers, statistics, and reports of relevant international organizations, the scene becomes even bleaker. This is because Syria has now surpassed many countries in the level to which freedom of the press is suppressed.
Since the protests in Syria began, repression of the media has increased. The regime decided, with premeditation and planning, to silence journalists and constrain the freedom of the press. It pursued journalists, restricted their work, and sometimes arrested them.
Lebanon: Diminishing Freedom
Lebanon used to be well-known for its freedom of the press. Arab journalists flocked to this small country to escape being silenced, ravenous for the its servings of “freedom extra.” All this is in the past. Today, it is no more.
This may be what drove a Middle East expert like Robert Fisk to write an article under the headline “End of an Era for Press Freedom in Lebanon.” In the article, published three years ago in The Independent, the British journalist reported several stories indicating that the Lebanese press was losing its freedoms. He then asked a piercing question: “Is something rotten in the state of the Lebanese press?”
Gulf Countries Produce Less Freedoms
The popularity of traditional media and the printed press has fallen when compared with the rise of new media and social networking sites. Despite that, the 2012 report by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, ranked Saudi Arabia eight out of the ten worst countries in the world for suppression of the media.
A royal edict, issued in May 2011, ordered an amendment to the Saudi print law to give the Saudi media minister the right to prohibit, confiscate, and censor any site or newspaper. Following that, unprecedented campaigns against journalists, writers, and human rights activists were launched in official Saudi newspapers. These came in response to articles and statements demanding reform and supporting a state of law and a constitutional monarchy.
So, so awesome. I’ve been waiting for this with so much anticipation and excitement.
Despite its regional and global significance, the Arabian Peninsula has played a tangential role in the study of the modern Middle East. Jadaliyya’s Arabian Peninsula Page seeks to further the debates on the region and its eighty million inhabitants from a myopic focus on statistics, conjecture, and religious violence to one on people and communities, everyday hardships and popular struggles, culture and politics. It will bring together scholars, writers, artists, bloggers, journalists, activists, and photographers who work on or live in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The goal is to provide an open and collaborative space for the production of knowledge on a region that has largely escaped critical engagement.
Here are the links to new articles featured on the Arabian Peninsula Page:
Enjoy! And kindly spread the word :)