Bahrain boasts one of the most long-standing ISP’s in the Arab Region, having begun making the Internet available in 1995. This should come as no surprise given the fact that Bahrain supports strategic military bases for many countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. About 55% of Bahrain’s population uses the Internet regularly, and a fair amount of these individuals are either military workers, expatriates, or other contractors working on projects in the private sector.
History of Bahrain
Bahrain is an archipelago which sits near the Western shores of the Persian Gulf. The largest island in the chain is Bahrain Island, which is only about 34 miles long and 11 miles wide. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both connected to Bahrain via large causeways and Iran is in close proximity. The centrality of Bahrain makes it a preferred staging area for military operations in the Arab region.
Even though Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy ruled by King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, it is one of the most politically liberalized countries in the region. The country functions politically in a manner which resembles government in the West. The King appoints a Prime Minister and his cabinet, and there is a parliament which is responsible for making and enforcing constitutional law. In 2004, Bahrain negotiated a free-trade agreement with the United States, thereby increasing its economic standing among the Arab nations.
Internet in Bahrain
Bahrain is a regional leader when it comes to providing telecommunications and Internet service. An abundance of fixed telephone lines and state-of-the-art technology gives the Internet in Bahrain a level of sophistication which is seldom seen in the area.
It is interesting to note that an increasing number of websites are hosted in Bahrain, almost 600 at last count, many of which are blogs. There are also multiple ISP’s to choose from. Bahrain does not monopolize the telecommunications industry the way Saudi Arabia or other Arab nations do. At last count, ten ISP’s were licensed to provide Internet service in Bahrain.
Internet Filtering in Bahrain
Despite the ease of Internet access offered in Bahrain and the presence of multiple ISP’s, the Internet is still heavily monitored by the state. Web content deemed offensive is regularly blocked by the Bahrain Ministry of Information and hence the reason many would like to be a Cyber Ghost using a vpn.
Prior to 2011, the year of an uprising in Bahrain, Internet filtering was moderately applied. Since that time a new method of commercial filtering has been used by the Kingdom and it is very effective at allowing the state to control the content residents of Bahrain can access.
More than 13 people have been arrested in Bahrain for content posted on online blogs. One of these individuals, Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri, died in prison after being tortured for posting content that the state claimed advocated the overthrow of Bahrain’s regime.
At the present time, these are a few of the types of websites which are blocked in Qatar:
- Gay, Lesbian, and pornographic websites. These kinds of sites are considered a violation of the moral values associated with Islam.
- Dating sites such as Match.com A strong sense of family values is associated with Islam, and therefore many of these websites are deemed objectionable.
- Political Blogs. Blogs and news websites that criticize the regime are not tolerated and are highly filtered.
- NOTE! While Skype and Viber are still available in Bahrain at this time, there are growing indications that these apps will fall victim to a governmental block in the immediate future.
Unblocking websites in Bahrain
There was a time when Bahrain even went so far as to block services which allowed Internet users to surf anonymously. Thankfully, it is still possible to unblock restricted web content in Bahrain through a VPN account like the one offered on our website.
A VPN software is very effective in allowing Internet users to access a host of services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer which are not available in Bahrain. A VPN gives you an added level of security in addition to making these websites available, something that is very important in Bahrain especially for those who also create their own web content.
To read more about Bahrain check out the following site: bahrain.com
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