High number of UAE websites 'inaccessible' - project

UAE Internet users report 509 different webpages were flagged as 'inaccessible'.

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By  Neeraj Gangal Published  June 12, 2009

The UAE ranks high among countries that have reported the most 'inaccessible' websites, a recent report has revealed.

Internet users in the country reported the eleventh highest rate of inaccessible websites from among the countries in the world, according to the Herdict project.

Herdict is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. It seeks to gain insight into what users around the world are experiencing in terms of web accessibility.

As on June 12, 11am UAE time, UAE users reported that 509 different webpages were flagged as “inaccessible”, the Herdict Web project statistics revealed.

China is the most reported country when it comes to website inaccessibility, according to the report. From among the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia ranked at No.4. and Bahrain at No.6 in the top 10 slots.

A noteworthy aspect of the report is that websites in the Western countries also reported high 'inaccessibilty'. Germany was ranked at No.2, US at No.3, France at No.7, Australia at No.8 and the UK at No.9.

According to the www.herdict.org website, Herdict is a portmanteau of 'herd' and 'verdict' and seeks to show the verdict of the users (the herd).

What is herdict?


Speaking to the UAE’s The National newspaper, Jillian York, the social media manager for the project said that the websites that were found by UAE users to have been blocked ranged from pornography and dating websites to religious pages.

“But then, you also get some sites where you’ve got to wonder why they’re blocked – like Flickr.”

“When someone is reporting a site as ‘inaccessible’ that means they could be experiencing government censorship, or school or work, or it could just be a server error,” York added.

Some sites are blocked within an organisation, while with others access may vary depending on location, the Abu Dhabi-based daily noted.

Top 10 countries that reported the most-inaccessible sites within the past six months as on June 12, 11am, UAE time:

1. China   (4,969)
2. Germany (6,972)
3. United States (5,162)
4. Saudi Arabia (2,364)
5. Iran (990)
6. Bahrain (1,004)
7. France (1,530)
8. Australia (911)
9. United Kingdom (1,237)
10. Philippines (909)

The Herdict has also introduced an Arabic language version.

3541 days ago

Please, the herdictweb report is NOT a report on internet censorship and should not be taken as such, this is dangerously misleading producing such comments as "Isn't it amazing those countries that dictate democracy are those who place restrictions where none should be applied" (BTW dictate democracy is a contradiction in terms). It merely reports on inaccessible web sites, a wholly different matter. I will give you a breakdown on the first websites mentioned as "inaccessible" on the the herdict website, please note there is no mention of "blocked" or "censored" as the article here has suggested. sendspace.com - a site providing a service to send large files. I have no problem reaching this site, this site is blocked by only one out of four ISP's. Hardly surprising for a service that that might chew up ISP bandwidth. This is commercial blocking, not UK government censorship. ziare.org - this is a badly configured, or non-operational website that merely produces the error: "You don't have permission to access /ziareorg.php3 on this server." This is neither censorship, nor an indication of an ISP trying to block a site due to bandwidth concerns. wattaninet.net - a broken, or no longer existant DNS record. Both nameserver records for this domain refuse to respond to nameserver queries. Again, this is neither censorship, nor an indication of an ISP trying to block a site due to bandwidth concerns. www.anonymous.com.bh - this is my favourite so far! This is Bahrain government censorship by proxy, ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, as the government of Bahrain doles out all .bh domains and has complete control over whether they remain active, and where the nameserver, and therefore host addresses point to. In this case, that would appear to be the standard block message of the government of Bahrain, in particular, Batelco, the government controlled Telco. Any request to unblock this address points to - http://www.unblock.gov.bh/

3541 days ago

Saad, LIFE itself has no control or rating. In the end it is up to the individual to exercise discretion both in their life and on the internet. Yes there's every sort of bad thing on the net and there's every sort of bad thing in real life. As parents it is our responsibility to guide our children to make the right decisions.

3541 days ago

This is realy a good step since the internet has no control nor rating to be classified . I wounder how those who calls to open the internet if they will let their children watch these movies or pictures. or use dating services.

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