Gulf countries called ‘Enemies of the Internet’

Report says Egypt, Saudi and Syria are worst violators of freedom of expression online

Tags: CensorshipEgyptIranReporters without BordersSaudi ArabiaSyriaUnited Arab Emirates
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Gulf countries called ‘Enemies of the Internet’ About sixty countries experienced a form of Web censorship in 2009, twice as many as in the previous year.
By  Vineetha Menon Published  March 15, 2010

Several Arab countries have been called ‘Enemies of the Internet' by international NGO Reporters Without Borders (RWB), including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia.

The organisation which fights for press freedom and defends journalists that are persecuted for doing their job recently released their Internet Enemies report that said some sixty countries experienced a form of Web censorship in 2009, twice as many as in the previous year.

Reporters Without Borders says the worst violators of freedom of expression on the Internet are Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

"...Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have opted for such massive filtering that their Internet users have chosen to practice self-censorship. For economic purposes, China, Egypt, Tunisia and Vietnam have wagered on a infrastructure development strategy while keeping a tight control over the Web's political and social content (Chinese and Tunisian filtering systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated), and they are demonstrating a deep intolerance for critical opinions," the RWB report explains, adding that bloggers, Internet users and cyberdissidents in Iran are now considered enemies of the regime.

Among the countries ‘under surveillance' are Turkey for blocking several thousands of sites including YouTube, and the United Arab Emirates which the RWB says will "need to make more progress to avoid getting transferred into the next Enemies of the Internet list".

3234 days ago

In response to the individual Zarathusta who has their facts incorrect. The article is correct for it does not list Iran as an Arab country but statescelarly Egypt, Saudi and Syria are ... Secondly, this limited view of the internet is taken obviously from a myoptic viewpoint of where this writer does not view media as an outlet of expression. In the course of history, open expression has allowed the people to speak and to have choices. As far as who has the right to choose whether or not they want it and if they want it, how they want, the people should have the right. Several of the countries listed in this so called listing, if you look closely, have what are referred to as autocratic non democratic governments who wish to suspend public opinion or the public's ability to learn or see how other's live. This is a huge undertaking of intolerance where the people may be subjugated to a political power base that does not wish for multiple choices or perhaps other options. There is nothing that says when an person of a specific culture reads any article that may have different opinion than their own, that the reader has to change their culture beliefs or practices, should they read this article. Limiting this ability to see how others live only inhibits growth, opinion and is a show of intolerance. So Zarathusta, perhaps you having the right of writing response to the article is simply your first chance to express your opinion to an article where in many countries, you would not have that chance.

3234 days ago

Zarathusta - you are either an over-zealouos idiot or blind!! The article title does not mention the word "Arab"!! It says Middle Eastern. The first paragraphs which says Arab Countries does not include Iran in the list. Do you mean to say that it's ok to have somebody decide for you on what to say and what to view? All this because it might destablize your countries? People deserve better.

3235 days ago

thx for the news but the title is WRONG. Iran is NOT arab country. Well, freedom of expression!!! What is that! does it work just work for West or what!!! INTERNET is a machine and the so called freedom of expression is its soul. It can be seen as a weapon to destablise or culturally influence these countries. At the first place, it is their right to choose whether or not they want it and if they want it how they want it!!!!!

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