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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Bahrain clamps down on fake Qatari social media accounts

Interior ministry said Qatari-led campaign was intended to sow discord in Bahrain

Bahrain, led by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has formed part of the blockade against Qatar / Reuters
Bahrain, led by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has formed part of the blockade against Qatar / Reuters

Qatari-run social media accounts have been used to systematically target Bahrain’s national interests and attempt to stoke tensions, the Bahraini interior ministry has said.

The campaign sought to negatively influence public opinion, drive a wedge between relations with Saudi Arabia and damage Bahrain’s economy by circulating false information using accounts based in Qatar, the ministry said.

The efforts also tried to instigate disturbances, swing public opinion, incite hatred and jeopardise upcoming parliamentary elections by undermining a number of issues such as the new Bahraini pension scheme.

''In general, these threats constitute a purposeful assault against the citizens although they are immune to the risks. Citizens have proven throughout history their firm stand on national values thanks to their awareness and sincere determination to foil all attempts targeting security and social peace,'' said the ministry in a statement published by Bahrain News Agency, BNA.

Through the General Directorate of Anti-corruption and Economic and Electronic Security, the interior ministry said it would continue to monitor social media accounts that violated Bahraini law.

''Legal action has also been taken in this regard,'' the statement said. It also urged the public to treat suspect accounts with caution, only take information from official sources and to avoid recirculating malicious news to protect Bahrain.

The interior ministry said it would always protect the people's rights and their freedom of expression, but said Bahraini citizens had to also assume responsibility and come together to counter the dangers posed by malicious social media claims.

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