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Recent Restrictions to the Internet in Bahrain

Added to the growing list of countries subjected to Internet restrictions in light of the MENA revolutions is Bahrain, whose citizens have experienced severe limitations to online access in the past two months. The Huffington Post reported in February that traffic from Bahrain has decreased anywhere from 10% to as much as 20% since January.

Arbor Networks, who has gathered data on Internet traffic for many of the Jasmine Revolution countries, reported that the decrease in speed is usually only caused by “natural calamities or major global sporting events.” Craig Labovitz, chief scientist of the organization, highlighted the abrupt halt of traffic on his website by comparing the crawl of traffic with similar patterns in other countries in the Middle East. He also indicated that the government blamed the slow-down of Internet service on “overwhelmed circuits.”

Mashable mentioned Herdict last month in their report on specific blocked sites in the country, although most data on blocked websites were submitted before the revolution in 2010.

With the Bahraini King’s declaration for martial law amid violent protests and expats evacuating the country this week, the revolution continues in the country. For more, see Herdict’s country report on Bahrain and read Herdict’s previous update on Internet restrictions on the MENA region.

About the Author: Qichen Zhang

Qichen is an undergraduate studying Social Studies at Harvard College. Besides Herdict, she blogs for the Berkman Center's OpenNet Initiative and Blogging Common. She can be reached at

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