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61% think website controls too strict

Arabian Business poll results call for access to more websites to be unblocked by Gulf governments.

More than 60 percent of people believe government controls on website accessibility in the Gulf region go too far, according to the results of an Arabian Business poll.

Sixty-one percent of respondents called the restrictions "unreasonable" and said they thought they should be able to view what they liked on the internet from the privacy of their own homes.

The online poll on Saturday followed news that Etisalat and Du will be asked to unblock access to more than 1,000 websites that UAE censors had deemed offensive. Many thousands of websites remain out of bounds across the Gulf region because of content that governments disapprove of.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is instructing web service providers to unblock the sites as part of its new internet access management policy.

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

Our poll also revealed that 18 percent of people thought restrictions should only apply to children surfing the internet.

Only nine percent of respondents believed the current level of restrictions was sensible, saying they could understand why they existed.

A further 12 percent called on government officials to increase the number of access restrictions, believing there were still too many on the web that should be blocked.