Ali Al Matani - firstname.lastname@example.org - Oman TV recently showed an attempted attack on its media personnel on a mission to shoot a video on some expatriates over-fishing shrimp off the coast of Mahut. What was shocking was the fishermen tried to sink the TV crew’s boat to prevent them from performing their duty.
This is a serious incident and a violation of law. It is a crime that combines the violation of fishing laws along with an attempt to sink government officials’ boat.
Such incidents should be dealt with under the Omani criminal law. It is necessary to expand the probe and uncover the motive that made the perpetrators attempt such a crime and bring them to justice.
Authorities dealing with labour law violations face several challenges such as verbal assaults. But murder attempt is a dangerous precedent that reveals the attitude of some expatriates who do not care about the country’s laws.
This defiance of laws is an abnormal and incomprehensible behaviour. This defiance is not limited to laws that combat illegal labour or laws that prevent overfishing. That they have the courage to target the lives of government employees while carrying out their duty is the first of its kind in the history of the Sultanate. This reality requires vigilance. It requires toughening of penalties against violators.
The attempt to prevent the TV crew from making a video is an offence that should not happen. Attacking the team in an attempt to commit a murder against government employees is beyond comprehension.
The laws of the country punish anyone who obstructs an employee from performing his duty. Article 236 of the Omani Penal Law stipulates:
Every person who commits an offence shall be sentenced to life imprisonment for intentional murder, if the offence committed:
1. For an unfounded reason.
2. For the benefit of a felony offence.
3. Against an employee in the course of or in the exercise of his functions.
The incident, as stated in the television report, is the initiation of the murder crime stipulated in the third Clause of Article 236, which confirms the magnitude of the attempted crime.
A deterrent punishment must be imposed for attempting to commit a heinous crime. We must not forget this crime has been committed against journalists in order to limit their freedom of work and prevent them from uncovering the truth.
The media team had performed with rare courage, one of the most serious journalistic tasks, aimed at uncovering the truth and informing the public about the misappropriation of our fish wealth.
This fact obliges the competent authorities to reward the team for putting its lives at risk in order to accomplish its mission. They should also follow up the case with the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.
Media personnel, like other professionals, face challenges and difficulties in carrying out their duties, but when things reach the level of attempted murder and threatening the lives of the team members, as illustrated by the report, it requires everyone to treat the incident with all seriousness and attention. Journalists in many countries face various kinds of violations, especially in areas of conflicts and wars. Some of them are even imprisoned for political reasons, according to international reports issued in this matter.
But what happened to the Oman TV team was a unique kind of attack by foreign workers who practise overfishing, throwing regulations and laws to the wind.
We expect competent authorities to give this matter utmost attention and follow up on the investigations and legal procedures until the culprits are arrested and punished as per law.