Webmasters face prosecution if they defy Bahraini rules

Bahraini websites to be registered or face legal action as the kingdom's Information Ministry gets tough

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By  Rhys Jones Published  May 11, 2005

All Bahraini websites, whether set up locally or abroad must now register with the country’s government or face legal action, according to a top Information Ministry official. A six-month campaign is being launched this week to register all websites, under orders from information minister and minister of state for foreign affairs Dr Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar. “The ministry is expected to announce soon the details of how each website owner or supervisor can register,” said Mahmood Al Mahmood, Bahrain’s information under-secretary. “If they fail to register, legal action will be taken against them based on the country's printing and publishing laws,” he added. Websites will face similar laws to newspapers, related to libel, public decency and ethics. “Just as a newspaper editor-in-chief is held responsible for what he publishes, so will the webmasters be,” explained Al Mahmood. Bahrain’s ministry printing and publishing director Jamal Dawood said registration procedures would be similar to those covering newspapers, magazines and leaflets as well as audio and visual media.

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