.the “Arab Spring” and a series of global popular movements has resulted in crackdowns on expression, showing just how terrified governments have become of the voice accorded their citizens via the internet.
And indeed, they have: Nearly halfway through 2012, online repression remains on the rise. In post-dictatorship Tunisia and Egypt, the face of the threats may have changed, but their implications remain all too real. Social media users still run the risk of blasphemy charges in the former, while in the latter, military detentions continue. In the Gulf countries - where authorities fight to maintain stability in a rapidly changing region - bloggers are detained in increasing numbers, while new regulations are debated, such as Kuwait’s proposed death sentence for insulting the prophet. Elsewhere, new systems are being put into place to filter and surveil citizens, such as one recently discovered in Ethiopia.
On whether security should be increased, Al-Khalifa, who is also one of the 26 members of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, said: “No, absolutely not.
"It will be life as normal. We’ve never had any violence towards foreigners simply because they are foreigners or in F1.
"There is no violence towards guests of the country, and I don’t think there will be any disruption or danger to anybody coming into Bahrain."
He said he understood people’s “apprehension” but added: “Anybody who has been there before and comes now will see there is no difference.
"It is why I’m hoping for the race to come as quickly as possible, just to let this community [in Formula 1] see and feel what is really going on in Bahrain.