Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said has ruled the country since 1970. His government has focused on economic development. He first addressed infrastructure needs, such as building roads and highways, as well as education. He is now focusing on sustainable development, diversification, industrialization, and privatization. In 2000, Oman joined the WTO and began liberalizing its market. Oman has an FTA with the US (2006) and through the GCC is seeking similar agreements with the EU, China and Japan.
Because the oil supply is decreasing, Oman is trying to reduce the oil sector’s contribution to GDP to nine percent by 2020. To help achieve this goal, Oman is courting foreign investment in the fields of natural gas, information technology, tourism, and higher education.
Perspectives from citizens of the region were used when possible. The media in Oman is highly censored, so newspapers articles were used to supplement when blogs, opinion articles, and Youtube videos, etc. were not available. Government perspectives are also used in this analysis. Those with perspectives critical of the governments are often arrested, so views from expats were included as well.
Technology and Media
Dr. Samskrati Gulvady of the College of Applied Sciences and the Ministry of Higher Education, Sultanate of Oman writes about his perspective on blogging and the Internet in Oman.
In Oman, it was the accession of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and his dynamic world that ended the country’s medieval isolation and propelled it towards a globally integrated path of development. Under His leadership, Oman has embraced globalization with open arms. With the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution, the pace of integration has further accelerated.
With the increasing importance of citizen-journalism on the Internet, which has burgeoned since blogging started gaining popularity in the early 2000s, the new media is making a beginning in Oman too. Blogging in Oman is taking off, although it is still relatively unknown and not very popular among the general public. However, among the journalists and professionals, globalised class, it is an emergent phenomenon. The Arabic and English blogs in Oman reflect the thoughts and concerns of the citizens, about local, regional or national issues.
The use of internet users in Oman is seeing a steady increase. According to the statistics published in the Oman Internet Usage and Telecommunications Report in ‘Internet World Stats – Usage and population statistics’ the usage has increased from 3.8% in 2000 to more than 11% in 2007]. Year
…Blogging in Oman is taking off, although it is still relatively unknown and not very popular among the general public. Although a few enthusiastic youngsters are indulging in it quite frequently…
No. of Blogs
Blogging activities in Oman seem to have begun in 2003-04. From then on, there was no looking back for the enthusiastic Oman-based bloggers, who have created a bloggers forum. It was observed that majority of the bloggers were males. Some women bloggers were also seen to be active. The average age group was between 20 to 40 yrs. The bloggers were both Omani citizens as well as expatriate residents, who shared their opinions and views about different issues concerning the people.
Topics like increasing number of accidents, frustrating traffic in the capital, nuisance of telemarketing in Oman…