Twitter Slams Bahrain for Criminalizing “Follow” of Opposition Accounts
2019-06-08 - 12:08 am
Bahrain Mirror: Twitter criticized the Bahraini Interior Ministry's announcement criminalizing the "follow" of accounts on its site, stressing that this poses a significant threat to freedom of expression and press.
"We agree with civil society that recent government statements in Bahrain about critical online posts will, if implemented, pose a significant risk to free expression and journalism,"said Twitter in an official statement published by the public policy page.
We agree with civil society that recent government statements in #Bahrain about critical online posts will, if implemented, pose a significant risk to free expression and journalism. https://t.co/vt0IDfSqm5— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) June 6, 2019
For its part, Access Now said: "We appreciate Twitter supporting frees peech in Bahrain. No one should be liable to legal action for simply expressing their opinions or for following an account."
Twitter also gave a reminder that Twitter lists enable users to view a timeline of Tweets from specified accounts without having to follow them, noting that private lists are only visible to the person who created the list.
In a statement, Access Now stressed that setting clear and unambiguous standards and concepts should be reconsidered, instead of suppressing rights and freedoms and resorting to arbitrary arrests of activists and social media users, stating that these services must be open, accessible and safe for all.
Bahrainis received text messages on their mobile phones by the Anti-Cyber Crime Department saying that anyone who follows accounts that would provoke sedition and criticize the government on social networking sites, such as Twitter, would be subject to legal accountability. It considered the measure to be a part of a new clampdown on political opposition in Bahrain, where Bahrain has stepped up its crackdown on dissidents and activists in recent months and has said it will punish online opposition with high fines.
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