Press freedom reports

The Committee to Protect Journalists states that press freedom in Oman is either nonexistent or heavily constrained. Reporters without Borders perceives “noticeable problems” with press freedom in Oman. The press never criticizes the sultan or his policies. Editorials are supportive of government views. There is little in-depth reporting on domestic issues. The law prohibits criticism of the sultan in any form or medium. Although criticism of government officials is tolerated, it never really gets media coverage. The current law applying to the media is the 1984 Press and Publication Law. It allows censorship of all domestic and foreign publications on all matters deemed to be politically, culturally, or sexually offensive. Journalists also practice self-censorship. In 1996 the sultan promulgated a basic law, the first written constitution, which provides for freedom of speech, but as of 1999 this was not implemented. Oman’s televison and radio stations are entirely state-controlled. Online journalists and writers exercise a strong degree of self-censorship according to a report by HRInfo. Due to high fees and technical challenges internet access is restricted. Authorities closely monitor blogs and also post advertisements warning users against posting certain types of information. An “Internet Service Manual” outlines regulations for internet use and dictates a long list of topics prohibited online. Professional Organizations In March 2006 the Omani Journalists Association was formally inaugurated. It comprises of both Omani and expatriate media representatives. According to the World Press Freedom Review of the International Press Institute, the OJA drew criticism for being too closely affiliated with the government and representatives of the sultan.