Results for Category: Oman
With the introduction of satellite television technology in the late 1980s, Omanis became exposed to a greater choice of media outlets and satellite channels soon became significantly more popular than the state-owned Omani broadcasts. Oman’s media environment became even more diverse in 1997, when the government allowed the sale of foreign newspapers and magazines that had previously been considered critical of Oman or the sultan.
The Shura Council eighth-term elections in the Sultanate of Oman, held on Sunday 25 October 2015, brought nothing new. Tribal alliances and “political money” played a significant role in setting up the next four years of parliamentary life in this Gulf country. Omani elections over the past eight years have shown that women are mostly excluded from political participation in the largely patriarchal society.
The authorities remained cautious about restrictions on and persecution of human-rights activists and used such measures only in emergency cases until massive popular protests broke out in February 2011 as part of the so-called Arab Spring. Omani authorities intensified their security measures and arrests in light of the escalating events and the tense relationship between the people and the government, as well as for reasons relating to public disorder, sabotage of public property, and libelling the sultan.
Despite falling oil revenues, Oman early in 2015 published a record budget of $36.7 billion for 2015. It maintains high social spending and a commitment to investment in infrastructure to boost diversification and develop tourism, logistics, and industry, but high social spending, coupled with a huge subsidy bill (for fuel and other utilities) of about 13 percent of total spending is no longer sustainable.
Before the GCC summit in Kuwait in December 2013, Oman’s minister of foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, made a surprising statement: his country would not join a GCC union (an upgraded version of the current loosely organized GCC) proposed by the Saudis, saying “we should not enter into conflicts, either close or far away from us. We think we should not return to the previous century.”