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1,000 'offensive' websites to be unblocked

Du and Etisalat poised to be told to allow access to websites in new TRA internet policy.

Etisalat and Du will be told to unblock access to more than 1,000 websites that UAE censors had deemed offensive.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will instruct web service providers to unblock the sites as part of its new “internet access management” policy, UAE daily The National reported.

The new policy will require the government-controlled internet provider duopoly of Etisalat and Du to unblock the sites before Aug. 29.

While TRA officials were unable to specify the websites that will be unblocked, the paper says they are likely to include internet forums and social networking sites whose administrators have removed material that TRA officials considered questionable or offensive.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA board member and director general, said: "We have always considered the interests and benefits of consumers throughout the formulation of this policy, which laws are directed to protect Internet users, because we believe in the role of the internet as a primary mean of acquiring knowledge.

"Given the fact of the commercial, economic and media work environment of many governmental bodies and institutions in the country, the TRA has implemented some exceptions on blocking access to certain websites, which contents may be commensurate with the nature of their work, where they might be in dire need to know vital information via the Internet that is at the core of their work. We don't want the blocking system to have a negative impact on their work and activity."

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