On 5th of December 2018, a video clip was posted on numerous social media websites. The clip was broadcasted live by Moosa Al-Farei, who is an Omani media figure close to the authorities. He is also a radio presenter who works at a local radio station called Al-Wisal.
Mr. Al-Farei was broadcasting live when he started talking with an inciting tone. He Gave negative hints about a certain university student, whom he referred to as (X) quoting: “This (X) person is unfortunately very active online. He is studying abroad in one of the most prestigious universities in the west. Yet you will find him day and night criticising the government, in many aspects. He definitely comes from a well known family. He is in his fourth year studying abroad. He comes to Oman during his vacations. Then he goes back to continue with his studies. And after every word and another he claims that there is no freedom of expression in Oman. And really sometimes one wonders; are these people idiots or they pretend to be one! Or is his vision blurred!
Mr. Al-Farei then continued with his talk adding a threatening tone saying: “ In some neighbouring countries they complain if they couldn’t get the person, because he is not coming back. The brother will be arrested. The wife will be arrested. The children will be arrested and the father will be arrested. And this will cause constraint on him. His scholarship expenses would be cut including other things”
Majority of the public understood that Alawi Al-Mashhor, a prominent Internet activist, was the student “X” whom Mr. Al-Farei referred to. Alawi AL-Mashhor is studying political science in his fourth year in Australia.
Mr. Al-Mashhor is considered to be a young prominent activist, who is known for his balanced criticism against the government , defending prisoners of conscience and demanding reform. He enjoys wide popularity among the Omanis.
A direct result of the resentment of a large segment of Omanis due to the systemic defamation and incitement Mr. Al-Mashhor experienced, thousands of Omanis tweeted in a hashtag #المطبل_الأعظم expressing their anger and resentment which made this hashtag a trend for three days continuously.
Note that Alawi Al-Mashhor returned to Oman only once since the beginning of his online political activities three and a half years ago. He was forced to stop blogging for eight months before his visit to Oman. He had no choice but to sign a pledge to stop blogging and criticising the government so that he can visit his family in Oman and to continue to study with a scholarship in Australia.