Bahrain

Population

1,346,613

Population 0‑14

19.5%

Internet Users

96.4%

Facebook Users

700,000

Mobile Subscribers

2,600,000
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

In 2005, His Majesty King Hamad introduced the Schools of the Future project, which uses ICT to support basic and secondary education in the kingdom, in eleven pilot secondary schools. The objective of this project is to use new technologies in teaching-learning processes, link all schools within the Bahrain via the Internet, introduce e-learning, and train teachers in the use of computers to enable them to obtain the International Computer Driving License (ICDL). Since its inauguration, the project has been introduced to many more national schools.

In 2008, Bahrain’s Ministry of Education (MoE) renewed its Partners in Learning (PiL) agreement with Microsoft Bahrain, which it started in 2004. Microsoft provides the MoE with tailored curriculum development for primary and secondary schools, technology training and widespread access to the latest technologies, enabling educators to raise the students’ level of IT literacy from an early age.

Funded by the Middle East Partnership Institute of the US Department of State, the Women in Technology (WIT) program for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the result of an international collaborative effort between the Bahraini government and industry. The partnership includes the Institute of International Education (West Coast Centre), Microsoft and a number of other local partners in nine Arab countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordon, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen. The WIT and the Bahrain Women’s Union provide training to women in Bahrain through Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential (UP) Community Learning Curriculum.

During 2009 the Be-Free Centre ran a series of workshops with children in schools in Bahrain to raise awareness about Internet safety. The workshops were entitled “I am a Strong, Smart, and Safe Child…over the Internet” and provided information about protection skills for children in grades 1 to 3 and 4 to 6. Also in 2009, As part of the Kingdom’s wider VISION 2030 strategy, Microsoft and the Bahrain Internet Society developed a number of programs to improve the IT literacy of its citizens through its eGA National Portal.

In 2009, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of Bahrain hosted the Gulf region’s first ICT and online safety conference in 2009, where the Bahrain TRA took steps to ensure online safety for citizens and families in the region. A second online safety conference, Creating a National Consensus for Online Safety was held in Bahrain the following year.

To encourage high school girls to consider careers in technology, Microsoft supports the DigiGirlz project: a YouthSpark initiative. Microsoft employees attend the sessions and, as well as interacting with the girls about careers, run technology workshops In 2009 and 2010, the program launched in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The events reached 850 students and Samsung provided sponsorship: demonstrating the latest technology and donating five laptops as prizes.

Arab Open University (AOU)

A non-profit organization that commenced operation in 2002. It adopts the open education technique that combines traditional and distance education, by using technology means to streamline information to the student.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

The center addresses human rights violations in the country, including those relating to families, children, and child victimization. The organization was established in 2002, and although it was ordered to close in 2004, remains active currently. For example, in 2006, the organization launched a toll-free helpline for victimized children, the first of its kind in the country.

Bahrain Internet Society (BIS)

The society strives to serve the community of Bahrain by raising awareness of the benefits of the Internet and ICT. They conduct hands-on training for citizens in computer basics and Internet surfing, as well as seminars, workshops and forums.

Be-Free Center

The center works to tackle child abuse and neglect, seeking to educate, train and empower parents, health care professionals and caregivers. It also works with families to ensure their children can benefit from a safe and positive Internet experience.

General Directorate of Information Security from the Central Informatics Organization

An officially recognized agency that is responsible for implementing a national cybersecurity strategy, policy and roadmap.

ICDL Arabia

The organization is responsible for the delivery of the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) program in the GCC States, Egypt and Iraq. The ICDL program, the world’s largest digital literacy program, is administered by the ECDL Foundation, a not-for-profit body, charged with promoting the program globally through its regional and national awarding bodies.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Arab States

The specialized agency for ICT in the United Nations.

INTERPOL

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Its mission is to enable police forces to collaborate globally to fight crime in the Internet age. Three areas of focus are crimes against children (with a focus on internet crimes and travelling sex offenders), cybercrime and human trafficking.

MENA Child Protection Initiative

The initiative was established in 2002 and aims to upgrade and improve the capacities of local authorities and municipalities to improve the wellbeing of children, and to enhance knowledge of effective policies and programs that address critical issues.

Ministry of Education

The ministry is responsible for the implementation of the kingdom’s education strategy and has full responsibility to proliferate the use of IT both within the ministry and between schools. The use of the Internet is a key factor in the MoE’s efforts to make resources available to all schools in Bahrain.

National Center for Child Protection (NCCP)

Opened in May 2007 under the patronage of Social Development Ministry, the center provides services that relate to the assessment, investigation, therapy, and follow-up of abused and neglected children, in partnership with governmental and national bodies. The NCCP deals with children who suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as severe negligence cases.

SafeSurf

Developed as part of Bahrain’s ongoing campaign for Internet safety, the organization offers simple guidelines to help users get the best from the Internet and avoid any underlying risks. The service is provided by the national Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in partnership with national ISPs, and offers advice for parents and children alike.

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)

Established in late 2002, the authority works with government, operators and consumers to regulate telecommunications activity in the Kingdom.

Women in Technology (WIT) for the Middle East and North Africa

Funded by the United States State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, WIT was implemented in collaboration with local partners in nine countries/regions: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. The aims of WIT are to empower women and increase their participation in the workforce by providing partner organizations with curricula, training, professional development, and Information Technology.

Arab Social Media Report (2015)

Arab Social Media Influencers Summit

The Arab social media report provides an overview on the social media reality in the Arab world through the monitoring of all social media trends in the Arab world and provides a detailed view on using social media channels in the different Arab countries.

Cyber Safety Report: Arabia (2015)

ICDL Arabia

Research into the online behaviour of Arab youth and the risks they face

Understanding The Terminolog y Used To Describe Bullying Acts In Qatar (2014)

Muthanna Samar; Mahitab Sherif; Jon Perkins; Hisham Morsi; Azhar Omar Al Rawas; Aiman El Asam

This study aims to investigate the perception of bullying amongst Qataris and Arabic speakers in Qatar

Cybercrime prevention inthe Kingdom of Bahrain Via IT Security Audit Plans (2014)

Amina Almadhoob, Raul Valverde

This article addresses the common types of technology crimes that affect businesses in Bahrain and provides potential plans to address them.

The Influence of Social Media on Youth (2014)

ICDL Arabia

A servey conducted by IDCL Arabia, which involved collecting responses to vital questions from 883 ICDL Summer Camp male and female participants aged 14-18, analyzing their answers to get a sense of their general attitude and knowledge about social media and cyber safety.

Media Use in the Middle East (2013)

E. Dennis, J. Martin, R. Wood

This report provides a view of how people in the Middle East use media and how they feel about their effect on their lives and societies.

This section contains details of the country’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

In addition, the Shura Council approved a proposed Child Protection Bill in May 2011, which addresses issues currently not covered by the Penal Code. The legislation includes unspecified jail sentences for online grooming (Article 17) which is defined as follows: ‘luring and exploitation of children via the web “Internet” in matters contrary to public morals, public order or not commensurate with their age, is now a criminal act punishable by imprisonment.

The production and distribution of indecent images depicting children and exposing children to pornographic images will also be considered an offense (Article 129): ‘The showing of sexual relations, or fondling, or penetration to children in movies or pornography, or the use of these in production in any form, including via the Internet is prohibited’. The proposed punishment is imprisonment for a minimum of ten years up to life imprisonment where the victim is under the age of eighteen and has not given consent (Article 130). This is reduced to imprisonment for seven to ten years if the child is a female under the age of fifteen and has given consent. In addition, controlling the access of young people to the Internet will partly be the responsibility of the private sector, by restricting access at Internet Cafes, for example.

In 2015, the Economic Development Board of Bahrain has drafted a Cyber Crime Law, which is currently under review.

  • Article 324, Penal Code. This Article states that it is a criminal offense to entice another person to commit acts of immorality or prostitution, or to assist in such acts in any manner whatsoever. The offender will be liable to imprisonment. Where the victim is a minor under the age of eighteen, the penalty will be imprisonment for a minimum term of five years.
  • Article 325, Penal Code. Defines the offense of forcing another person to commit acts of immorality or prostitution by way of coercion, threat or deceit. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for between two to seven years. An aggravated sentence of imprisonment for between three to ten years will apply if the victim is under the age of eighteen.
  • Article 326, Penal Code. This Article imposes a penalty of imprisonment for a maximum of five years for anyone who totally or partly lives off the earning of prostitution or immorality. The same sentence applies to anyone who uses his influence or authority to live off the earnings of another person’s prostitution or immorality, or encourages the victim to indulge in prostitution or immorality, whether this is achieved with consent and without consideration, or by obtaining such funds as payment for providing protection.
  • Article 328, Penal Code. States that anyone who establishes or runs, or assists these in any way, premises for the purpose of prostitution or immorality, will be liable to imprisonment for between two to five years.
  • Article 329, Penal Code. This Article states that anyone who solicits another in a public place for immoral purposes or prostitution will be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of two years. The Article also states that any notice containing an invitation implying a temptation to indulge in immorality or prostitution, or attracting attention thereto, will be considered as soliciting
  • Article 344, Penal Code. States that anyone who has sexual intercourse with a female without her consent will be liable to life imprisonment. The Article also states that if the victim is under the age of sixteen, the penalty will be the death sentence or life imprisonment. The same punishment is provided for having sexual intercourse with female less than fourteen years of age, even with her consent.
  • Article 345, Penal Code. This Article constitutes that anyone who has sexual intercourse with a woman over the age of fourteen but under sixteen, with her consent, will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years. The penalty will be imprisonment for no more than ten years if the female victim, who consented to the act, is over the age of sixteen, but under 21 years of age.
  • Article 346, Penal Code. Defines the offense of [sexually] assaulting another person against their will. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of ten years. The punishment will be a prison sentence if the victim is less than sixteen years. The non-consent of the victim will be presumed if he/she is under fourteen years of age.
  • Article 347, Penal Code. States that it is an offense to [sexually] assault a person over the age of fourteen but less than 21 years of age with the victim’s consent. The punishment is a prison sentence.
  • Article 348, Penal Code. This Article states that the following are aggravating circumstances for crimes defined in previous Articles in this chapter: if the offender is related to the victim or responsible for his/her upbringing; if the offender is the victim’s guardian or has authority over the victim; if the crime is committed jointly by more than one person; if the victim sustains a venereal disease as a result of the crime; if the victim falls pregnant or loses her virginity by reason of the crime.
  • Article 349, Penal Code. This Article states that the punishment will be the death sentence if the offense of rape (Article 344) results in the death of the victim. Where the offense of sexual assault (Article 346) leads to the death of the victim, the penalty will be life imprisonment or the death sentence.
  • Article 350, Penal Code. This Article constitutes that anyone who commits an indecent act in public will be liable to a fine of up to BD 100 and imprisonment for up to one year. The Article also states that anyone committing an indecent act with a female will be liable to the same punishment, even when the act is not committed in public.
  • Article 351, Penal Code. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for no more than three months or a fine of up to BD 20 for anyone who commits an indecent act by words or deeds, in a public road or place frequented by others, or by telephone.
  • Article 352, Penal Code. States that the offender is deemed to have known the real age of the victim in the crimes described in the preceding Articles, unless he proves that he was unable to know the real age of the victim.
  • Article 355, Penal Code. This Article states that it is an offense to print, import, export, own, possess, carry or display with the intent of exploiting, distributing or showing any publication, drawings, pictures, films, symbols or other items that violate public morals. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years and a fine not exceeding BD 200.
  • Article 356, Penal Code. States that anyone who utters, screams loudly or delivers a speech in public that is opposed to public morals or induces others to commit acts of immorality will be liable to imprisonment for up to two years and a fine not exceeding BD 200.
  • Article 364, Penal Code. Defines the offense of accusing another of having committed a certain occurrence rendering him liable to a penalty, by any method of publication. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of up to BD 200. The Article also states that the punishment shall be imprisonment and a fine, or either penalty, if the libel affects one’s honor, puts families into disrepute or if it is made to attain an illegal purpose. Publishing the libel in a newspaper or other publication is considered an aggravating circumstance.
  • Article 365, Penal Code. States that anyone who slanders another by any method of publication so as to affect his honor or integrity without making a specific accusation against him will be liable to imprisonment for up to two years or a fine of up to BD 100, or both. The Article also states that the same punishment will apply if the libel affects one’s honor, puts families into disrepute or if it is made to attain an illegal purpose. Publishing the slander in a newspaper or other publication is considered an aggravating circumstance.
  • Article 366, Penal Code. Prescribes a prison sentence for a maximum of six months or a fine of up to BD 50 for anyone who commits libel or slander through the telephone or without provocation, and in the presence of a third party.
  • Article 370, Penal Code. Defines the offense of publishing by any method of publication news, photographs or comments relating to an individual’s private life or family, even though they are true, but the publication thereof is offensive to the victim. The crime is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months and a fine not exceeding BD 50.
  • Law No. 60 of 2014 concerning Information Technology Crimes

2004 - Bahrain acceded to the UN Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

2006 - Gulf Cooperation Council CERT committee (GCC-CERT) was instituted, with Bahrain as a member to unite gulf states in their implementation of cyber security. Bahrain has a national Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT.bh, that addresses cyber safety and security breaches.

2007 - The Bahrain Centre for Child Protection was opened in 2007 by the Social Development Minister, Dr. Fatima Bint Mohmmed Al – Bulooshi. The Centre has primary responsibility for child protection and investigation in cases involving physical, sexual, and psychological child victimization.

2008 - As a partner of the ITU, Bahrain has participated in numerous initiatives, such as the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, started in 2008, which represented the first major attempt to focus internationally on a range of online child protection issues. ITU has additional projects, past, current, and anticipated available in the Arab region.

2010 - Bahrain conducted a State of the Nation Review of Internet Safety in 2010. This review provides a comprehensive analysis of Internet safety issues among adults and children (including rates and types of online abuse of children) and makes recommendations to ensure the safety of citizens navigating the internet.

2015 - Bahrain hosted the GCC eGovernment Award Conference and Exhibition in 2015, which draws attention to the issue of internet safety by honoring leading eServices and ICT solutions across the Gulf region (such as portals available for internet safety education and reporting online victimization)