Viewing cable 05MUSCAT618
Title: OMAN ONLINE: TOURISM IN OMAN AND SECRECY IN TRIAL OF

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT6182005-04-13 13:15:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000618 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARPI (TROBERTS), NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY), NEA/P 
(FFINVER), IIP/G/NEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL KPAO SCUL SOCI MU
SUBJECT: OMAN ONLINE: TOURISM IN OMAN AND SECRECY IN TRIAL OF 
ARRESTEES 
 
 
¶1. Summary:  The Omani Internet chat rooms "al-Sablah" and "al- 
Majarra" are the liveliest and most comprehensive Arabic-language 
fora for political and social discourse in the country, touching 
on issues and personalities rarely addressed in the conventional 
media.  While not totally free, nor wholly reflective of Omani 
public opinion, these popular sites nevertheless offer a 
worthwhile window into the hot topics and unvarnished views of 
the day.  This edition of Oman Online contains the following 
topics: 
 
-- Is tourism a good thing? 
-- Lack of legal representation for arrestees 
 
End summary. 
 
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Tourism Wins Out 
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¶2. Media coverage of several recent high profile projects to 
promote tourism in Oman led al-Sablah subscribers to launch an 
informal poll of the chat room's membership on the benefits and 
disadvantages of tourism.  89 subscribers participated in the 
poll and 52 of them agreed with the statement, "Tourism will 
greatly benefit Oman's economy."  37 participants disagreed with 
the statement.  One pro-tourism subscriber wrote, "Tourism is an 
excellent way to improve the economy because it produces a lot of 
jobs."  A more pessimistic participant commented, "Tourism will 
expose our society to other cultures that have values and 
traditions different from our own.  This will lead to behavior 
that goes against Islam, such as the use of alcohol, immoral ways 
of dressing, and strange ideas that will negatively influence our 
young people." 
 
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Lawyers for Detainees 
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¶3. Al-Sablah subscribers continue to discuss the detention of 
scholars, tribal shaykhs, and others accused of forming an 
illegal association and threatening national security. Several 
participants in the chat room confirmed that the families of most 
of the detainees were able to find lawyers to defend them. 
However, one member commented, "The Attorney General has banned 
the attorneys for the detainees from discussing the details of 
the case."  Several participants complained, "This is prohibition 
violates the constitution and human rights."  Others wrote, "The 
international community should send inspectors to monitor the 
trials to ensure that justice is served." 
 
STEWART