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Top media exec criticises UAE net censorship

Barring websites with illegal copyrighted material wrong way to control piracy.

Barring access to websites with illegal copyrighted material is the wrong way to control piracy, a senior executive of Middle East television network MBC has said.

Ammar Bakkar, the head of new media at MBC, said such measures can harm the entertainment industry by impeding the growth of local websites, UAE daily The National reported on Sunday.

Bakkar's comments follows the UAE government’s announcement last week that it had blocked 10 websites, all based in South Korea, that were broadcasting football matches from June’s Euro 2008 tournament illegally and that it would also order internet service providers to block other websites infringing copyright.

“When you block the smaller sites, but keep up the big ones such as Facebook and YouTube, you end up with all the same content online. There will be no locally driven, user-generated material,” Bakkar was quoted as saying.

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