With the latest deportation episode of international journalists from Bahrain, some of their colleagues in the country might be wondering what was so news-worthy to make the ITV crew venture off on “unlicensed” terrain, instead of sticking to government-approved reporting on the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The government keeps issuing statements about its “open-door policy” and how it welcomes international observers and journalists yet Bahrain Watch has documented the cases of over 230 people whom the government has denied entry or deported for going to places the authorities do not want them to see.
So for those naughty journalists who don’t like to be told where they should and should not go by authoritarian regimes, they might find our map tool useful on their next detour.
The web app crowdsources information from Twitter and plots it on a Google map in real-time. Protesters have been using the app to help them avoid getting harassed or arrested at police checkpoints but journalists who want to avoid getting deported too soon may find the tool equally useful. The majority of tweeted data on protests, arrests, checkpoints… etc are naturally in Arabic, but journalists can search for any keyword or hashtag in English, or utilise the not-so-perfect yet free MyMemory machine translation incorporated within the app. (yes Google Translate is not free for web apps!)
Also, for those first-timers in Bahrain in need of some tips on where to go, our unauthorised tour guide of Bahrain could be a good place to start.