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Back Online Petition Call by Artists
source: Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain

Jan. 26--AN online petition has been launched against the decision of the Culture and Information Ministry blocking access to various websites.

It was sparked following a ban on, an international online community for artists.

"One day while logging onto the website, as I do everyday, I was shocked to see that it was suddenly banned," said Maha Thani, the 27-year-old creator of the online petition.

"I just want the site back! It is only an art community, a place for you to communicate with other artists, get ideas and express yourself." was created in August 2000 and has grown into a haven for artists to share art of many disciplines including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature and filmmaking, she said.

Besides being able to network with artists from across the world, the site also features downloadable resources such as tutorials.

"I joined the site in 2007 and have showcased my drawings and animations there," said Ms Thani.

"The site has really helped me grow as an artist through people's feedback on my work and my research into different art styles."

The petition she started has been signed by almost 300 people so far, from all over the world.

"Please, help me and my fellow Bahraini artists so that we can get justice and have the site back, and go on improving our skills in art," states the petition.

"Speaking on behalf of the above mentioned fellow Bahraini artists, I also state that any person, not necessarily from Bahrain, is more than welcome to help, and it will be really appreciated," states the petition.

A Bahrain-based Indian artist and architect, who signed the petition but didn't want to be named, said he was a paid subscriber to the site and that he was furious at it being blocked.

"This is extremely unfair. I am a paid subscriber and have already subscribed for this year," said the 32-year-old.

"I also had a position on to be in charge of discovering new designers and architects. I am extremely angry for it being blocked"

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