Following an in-depth investigation by Bahrain Watch on internet disruption in the village of Duraz in Bahrain, more than 25 international human rights NGOs formed signed an open letter letter calling on the Bahraini authorities to bring back full internet connection in the affected area.
Residents of the village were complaining of internet disruptions every day between 7:00 pm and 1:00 am. The report reveals the findings of researchers’ experiments that concluded certain 3G and 4G cell towers belonging to the largest providers in Bahrain, Batelco and Zain, appear to be turned off, and 2G cells broadcast notifications to phones indicating that mobile data services are not supported.
Senior researcher at Bahrain Watch Bill Marczak explains:
“It’s clear that there is a a coordinated effort across several ISPs to shut down mobile towers in Duraz at the same time every night, and deliberately degrade landline Internet traffic.”
The letter was written by Bahrain Watch in collaboration with Access Now as part of #KeepItOn campaign, stating that the international community “considers such government interference with internet connectivity to be an unacceptable restriction on human rights.”
NGOs including the Internet Sans Frontières, HIVOS, Bahrain Center for Human Watch to name a few, called on authorities to cancel any Service Restriction Orders by the Bahraini government, and commit to transparency in that matter, ensure that all citizens have equal access to internet and refrain from issuing internet shutdowns in the future.
The letter was delivered to the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) of Bahrain and the UN missions in New York and Geneva, and we are still waiting for response.