Bahrain’s interior ministry has announced that it has detected “fake social media accounts” run from Qatar that are circulating “false information” aimed at hurting Bahrain’s economy.
“The monitoring of recent social media posts has shown a systematic targeting of Bahrain to compromise its national interests by influencing public opinion on various issues, including naturalisation, to damage the close and special Bahraini-Saudi relations and hit the economy,” the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
The interior ministry said that the accounts were circulating false information that would “jeopardise the upcoming parliamentary elections by negatively focussing on a number of issues, including the new pension scheme, to negatively swing the public opinion and distort the Bahraini identity to project it as having negative characteristics”.
Bahrain is expected to hold parliamentary and municipal council elections in October.
The ministry stressed that false information tends to “instigate disturbances and sedition and incite hatred, in an attempt to undermine Bahrain’s social fabric”.
These “threats constitute a purposeful assault against the citizens”, it added.
The ministry asserted that it is continuing to monitor the social media accounts through the General Directorate of Anti-corruption and Economic and Electronic Security.
Legal action has also been taken in this regard, it stated.
The ministry also highlighted citizens’ right to freedom of expression, but urged them to follow the laws and ensure that the information they circulate is credible by obtaining it from official sources.
It also urged people not to post malicious rumours that go against security and civil peace and to be cautious and avoid recirculating false reports.
Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt broke off all ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist groups.