According to the Reuter article, “Oman appeals court upholds sentences over social media posts,” people are still being jailed for posting anything against the country’s ruler. Six people were sentenced in July to be jailed for 12 to 18 months, and were fined 1,000 Omani rials. The punishment was a result of postings that were made by the six on Twitter and Facebook that spoke out against Oman’s government. Recently the charges of these six people were reexamined but the Omani court of appeal still stood by their original standing. The offenders were officially charged with slander against Oman’s government.
The crackdown on social medial sites in Oman are, of course, a result of the political protests that occurred in Oman in 2010. This was not a unique response to the protests. Many of the case studies that we have seen in class have also implemented similar policies. It seems to be that the freedom of speech is one of the first rights to be removed when there is a discrepancy between the government and its people.
It is important to look at this issue because of how common it is. Governments tend to silence opposing voices in the midst of political protests. Now the question is how effective is this tactic? Will it induce the fear and repression that it was designed to in order to preserve a ruling regime? Will it cause even more anger in the people and ultimate upheaval of the government? It will be interesting to see how things will unfold in Oman in the next few years. From there, we can examine how effective the repression was in this situation. That information can then be further studied to create a more detailed and effective theory of politics.
Foreign policymakers should stay out of this issue, while domestic policymakers should make punishment harsher and more extreme for violators. This will instill more fear into the people and they will be less inclined to step out of line. There will be those few who will probably start to spark a revolution, but they can also be exposed to even more extreme punishment. If Oman’s government is not willing to listen to its people or make some sort of positive change for their people, an even more oppressive regime is the only way to prevent revolution and overthrow.
"Oman Appeals Court Upholds Sentences over Social Media Posts." | Reuters. N.p., 06 Dec. 2012. Web. 07 Feb. 2013.