The conflict in Syria and the uprisings in Bahrain and other countries represent one of the two important battles underway in the Arab world, whose outcomes will largely determine the future shape of Arab political systems. The second battle is not about who rules in a country, but about the right of citizens to express themselves.
Most GCC governments have reacted with concern to their citizens’ heightened digital activism.
Some concerns have also been expressed about a draft law to control social media use in Qatar, which has been a courageous leader in promoting institutions that enhance the quality and reach of freedom of expression and critical thinking, through universities, research centers and Al-Jazeera television.
Recent history suggests that states which try to restrict their citizens’ ability to speak their mind peacefully and constructively are fighting a losing battle.