Over 30 activists have been fined or jailed in the last year in the Omani government’s censorship campaign.
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Oman is seen in the Arab world as a fairly stable and well-developed country. Muscat, the capital, is a modern city that boasts sandy beaches and wide highways. A mix of petroleum money and mild crackdowns has kept the population subdued.
But recently, protesters have taken to the streets of the capital. Their cause? To protest the incarceration of several online activists, so called “netizens”, who are being rounded up by the government for the “defamation” of the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.
Al Said has been in power since he overthrew his father in the palace coup of 1970. Although he looks like he walked out of an orientalist painting, the Sultan’s doctrine has been modernization on a large scale since he came to the throne.
The act of censorship has made waves across the web, sparking posts from Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Amnesty International amongst others.