View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heavy Censorship Makes UAE One of the Worst Countries for Bloggers

Expert online entrepreneur, Daniel Scocco, who edits the popular blog, Daily Blog Tips, declares that the UAE is one of the ‘Top 10 Countries Censoring the Web.’

Coming in at fourth position on his list, Scocco says of the UAE:

The Rundown
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most connected countries in the Middle East. Despite that fact, the country tries to control heavily the flow of information on the web. Virtually any website containing ideas or information that goes against the political, moral or religious values of the country is blocked.

How does the censorship work?
All the telephone and Internet services used to be provided by the state-owned company Etisalat. In 2006 The United Arab Emirates started liberalizing the telecommunications market, but they still have a strong hand on it.

They are therefore able to control and filter most of the Internet traffic. Curiously enough, in 2002 a survey found out that 60% of the Internet subscribers approved the filtering of online content at ISP level.

What kind of content is blocked?
The United Arab Emirates is concerned with protecting the moral and religious values of the country mainly.

As such, they extensively filter websites that contain pornography, that are related to alcohol and drug use, gay and lesbian issues, online dating and gambling.

To read about other countries in the decalogue with which the UAE is associated:
Daniel Scocco, ‘Top 10 Countries Censoring the Web’, Daily Blog Tips, 29 October 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound