Viewing cable 04MUSCAT2226
Title: OMANI AMBASSADOR DENIES BAN OF WRITERS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04MUSCAT22262004-12-21 07:25:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 002226 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
NEA/ARPI, DRL/CRA (DDOLAN), DRL/PHD, NEA/PPD, NEA/PI 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV MU
SUBJECT: OMANI AMBASSADOR DENIES BAN OF WRITERS 
 
REF: MUSCAT 02180 
 
¶1. (U) The Omani Ambassador to the United States, Mohammed 
Ali al-Khusaiby, flatly denies that the Omani government has 
banned any writers (reftel).  In a December 8 reply to the 
New York-based NGO Committee for the Protection of 
Journalists (CPJ), the Omani Ambassador reaffirmed the 
Sultanate's commitment to its 1996 constitution (Basic 
Statute) that guarantees citizens civil, political, social 
and economic rights, including freedom of speech.  The 
Ambassador stated that the recent decision by Omani news and 
media outlets to remove articles by Mohammed al-Harthi and 
Abdullah al-Riyami were independent editorial decisions.  He 
further went on to highlight the "great" achievements of the 
Sultanate in the last thirty years and asked that the CPJ 
have "due regard" for the efforts made by the government for 
all the people of Oman. 
 
¶2. (U) In the Omani Internet chatroom Al-Sablah, Mohammed 
al-Harthi posted a rambling and critical response to the 
Ambassador's letter.  In his diatribe, al-Harthi referred to 
the freedom of press in the Basic Statute as "ink on paper" 
that has yet to be realized by journalists and writers in 
Oman.  He also blamed Oman's presence on international 
watchlists for the "shallowness" of the vision of those in 
charge at the Ministry of Information (MOI).  Al-Harthi went 
on to blast Ambassador al-Khusaiby's attempt to defend the 
government as indefensible.  Moreover, he alluded to articles 
of the Basic Statute that he believes violate freedom of 
expression.  (Note: Article 29 guarantees freedom of 
expression "within the limits of the law."  Anything that 
leads to public discord or violates public morale and conduct 
or opposes the general law is prohibited.  End note.) 
Al-Harthi chastised the Ambassador for not getting his facts 
straight and being uninformed about the actions of the 
Ministry of Information.  He said that the Ambassador has 
attempted to "reason the unreasonable and justify the 
unjustifiable" by saying that the decision to ban writers is 
up to editors. 
 
¶3. (SBU) Poet Abdullah al-Riyami told Emboff that he intends 
to submit his own response to the Ambassador's letter.  Both 
writers have expressed their disbelief at the Omani 
Ambassador's apparent lack of information regarding the ban 
and continue to assert the MOI's behind-the-scenes role.  The 
two writers' cause has become daily fodder for Al-Sablah and, 
in turn, has elevated the writers' profile. 
BALTIMORE