World Website Blocking

 2009 - 2011

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Afghanistan   News Blocked

29th September 2010. See article from online.wsj.com

Afghanistan flagThe government has ordered the shutdown of Benawa.com, a popular Pashtu-language news website, following requests by the first vice president, Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

It is also moving to outlaw another widely followed muckraking journalism site, Tolafghan.com.

  Blocking Starting

2nd May 2010. See article from erictric.com

Beginning on the 1st of May, Afghanistan will begin filtering content on the internet, according to the Financial Times, noting that a senior official of the Afghani government believes gambling, alcohol, and pornography are against [their] values.

Twenty internet service providers will soon filter websites promoting porn, drugs, alcohol, dating, and weapons, though there's no word as to whether Jihadist-related material will be readily accessible by Afghani citizens.

 

Argentina   Politicains block website used for reporting corrupt politicians

15th August 2011.  See article from indexoncensorship.org

Argentina flagAArgentina's National Criminal Court has issued an interim order to block a website and blog used to expose corruption and ordered the National Communications Commission to instruct all internet service providers to temporarily block access to them.

Using the motto Let's stop lies and hypocrisy, leakymails.com sought to obtain and publish emails either from official or personal accounts, pictures, videos or any other document exposing misbehaviours or unethical actions of public figures.

Dr Esteban Jose' Rosa Alves, General Director of the Argentinean Ministry of National Security, denounced the websites to the judicial authorities, arguing that their content jeopardised national security and risked the privacy of a number of public functionaries.

 

Azerbaijan   Internet Users Stung

18th October 2010.  See article from rferl.org

Azerbaijan flagA satirical blog in Azerbaijan called Scorpion has been blocked for nearly one week, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The site administrators, who requested anonymity for security reasons, issued a statement on October 13 saying that the blog might have been blocked because its satirical commentaries, photos, videos, and caricatures have annoyed some government officials.

The administrators have sought to inform Internet users in Azerbaijan about ways to access the blog via proxy servers since it became inaccessible on October 8.

 

Bahrain   Blocked Justice

28th August 2011. See article from indexoncensorship.org

Bahrain flagBahraini authorities have blocked access to the website of the Bahrain Justice and Development Movement, a London-based group consisting mainly of Bahraini exiles that denounces human rights violations in the country and advocates democratic reforms. Without elaborating, authorities accused the site of breaking Bahrain's laws.

  Blocking individual twitter pages

6th January 2010. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Over the past few weeks, reports have trickled in to Herdict and via Twitter, alerting us of the filtering of individual Twitter pages in Tunisia and Bahrain (as well as, possibly, China). In Bahrain @FreeBahrain was reported as blocked on New Year's Day.

  Blocking porn is just a cover for blocking public forums and debate

27th September 2009. See article from ifex.org

On 24 August 2009, Mohammed Albanki, the newly appointed Ministry of Information undersecretary, sent a letter to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in Bahrain ordering the blocking of a further 1,040 sites, based on a January 2009 ministerial resolution, regulating the blocking of websites. The letter from Albanki referred to Article 2 of the resolution, which states that All telecommunications companies and Internet service providers shall block pornographic websites that breach public morality, thus giving the impression that the blocked sites are of a pornographic nature. Detailed information on the targeted sites, including server names, the sites' IP addresses and the originating countries, was also attached to the undersecretary's letter.

Since the Ministry of Information initiated and led its website regulation campaign, hundreds of websites, inside and outside Bahrain, have been blocked and banned within the country. These include many electronic public forums belonging to villages, religious, cultural and political establishments, as well as opposition and human rights organizations. The campaign did not exclude bloggers and specific pages in the Facebook and YouTube sites. The common element among these sites is that freedom of expression is respected and many subjects, which are considered subversive by the authorities and not favoured, are reported and discussed freely.

  Bahrain's "anti-porn" campaign heightens censorship

26th March 2009. See article from menassat.com

Sites that are currently inaccessible in Bahrain include independent newspaper Bahrain Times, the online current events forum Montadayat, and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

The Bahraini authorities appear to have also turned their attention to social media, in an attempt to block dissident voices.

In a recent press release, BCHR accused Al-Khalifa of expanding the censorship campaign to social networking sites such as Facebook. The organization “discovered” that the national authorities had removed postings on Facebook pages belonging to Bahraini rights groups that reported on the human rights situation in the country.

Among the reports that mysteriously disappeared from BCHR’s page were Amnesty International's recent report on human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa, an AlJazeeratalk report on human rights violations in Bahrain, and a statement from the BCHR on the prosecution of Bahraini journalist Lamees Dhaif.

BCHR said it believes the motives behind the censoring of the dissident entries on Facebook is the realization of the Bahraini authorities that this social site has extensive accessibility and distribution.

  Gunning for Proxies

4th February 2009. See article from menassat.com

Web activists and rights groups say a wave of Internet censorship is sweeping Bahrain. Web sites belonging to opposition political groups, human rights organizations, and electronic newspapers are all being targeted and activists say Bahrain’s actions coincide with the recent appointment of royal family member Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa as Minister of Culture and Media.

On January 14 this year, local newspapers in Bahrain made public a ministerial order by Bahrain’s new Minister of Media & Culture, Shiekha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa that called on telecommunications companies and Internet service providers to tighten their measures on preventing access to web sites previously banned by the ministry.

According to rights groups like the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), whose web site has been blocked, This was the first resolution issued by the minister this year…..to give sharp and clear instructions to telecommunications companies and Internet service providers to prevent all the customary ways to access blocked sites, whether through Internet addresses or through the use of alternative servers (proxies) or any other way.

Some of the sites now inaccessible in Bahrain reportedly include independent newspaper Bahrain Times, the online current events forum Montadayat, and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

Even the party Al-Demokrati, a legally registered party, has now had its site blocked, sources tell MENASSAT.

Ali Abdulemam is the administrator of a news engine for political and social affairs in Bahrain - Bahrainonline. He told MENASSAT that the authorities have been playing a censorship cat and mouse game with his web site for the past seven years.

Abdulemam claims Al-Khalifa's campaign to censor and ban sites is more aggressive than before, pointing to the fact that ministry has even blocked Google Translation because it can be use as proxy to surf his site.

Bahrain may have breached United Nations treaties on human rights, by blocking access to certain political websites and Internet discussion forums.

The decision appears to defy the Universal Declaration of Human Rights conventions and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the country has signed up to, according to Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS) president Abdulnabi Al Ekri.

Al Ekri said the crackdown on non-sexual websites, apparently instigated by the Culture and Information Ministry, also breached Bahrain's Penal Code.

Hundreds of websites were blocked last month, following what the government called a crackdown on pornography. However, activists claim political sites, public discussion forums, human rights, news and advertisement sites and religious and non-religious groups were included in the clamp.

 

Bangladesh  Block for 84 foreign websites featuring uploaded Bangladeshis

19th September 2009.  See article from earthtimes.org

Bangladesh flagBangladesh police have requested the government shut 84 websites carrying nude photographs and sexually explicit video clips, some of them posted without knowledge of the people depicted.

Police said a female university student had recently attempted to commit suicide after nude video clips of her were uploaded to one of the websites. Other women have abandoned their studies after photographs of them were posted, said Mohammad Nazrul Islam, the assistant inspector general of police.

A two-year investigation showed that the images and clips had been uploaded from outside Bangladesh. Some photographs of Bangladeshi women and girls - including models and other celebrities - had been modified and edited to make them vulgar, Nazrul said.

Such websites are illegal under Bangladeshi law, he said. But taking legal action against companies hosting the websites is difficult and time consuming, as many are run from abroad.

 More Freedom Flushed down the U Tube

9th March 2009.  See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Internet users in Bangladesh are not able to access YouTube since Friday (March 6, 2009) evening. Soon people discovered that other Social Media and file hosting/sharing sites like Esnips, mediafire etc. were also not accessible.

Apparently these are blocked by the firewalls at IIG (International Internet Gateway) as these can be accessed by proxy.

 

Brazil   ISPs told to block critical football blog

25th July 2011. See article from knightcenter.utexas.edu

BrazilA Sao Paulo judge has ordered Brazilian ISPs to block access to journalist Paulo Cezar Prado's Blog do Paulinho website, Monica Bergamo reports for Folha de S. Paulo. The site is known for criticizing and making allegations against executives at the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF) and major domestic clubs.

The decision came after a complaint by Franck Henouda, a businessman who works with local and international soccer teams, and who was accused by the journalist of laundering money. Comments on the blog were allegedly offensive to the executive's relatives.

It is unnecessary to say how absurd this decision is. It hurts freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Brazilian constitution, the journalist wrote on his site, which, at the moment, is still visible in Brazil and abroad.

 

Burma   Some websites unbanned

4th September 2011.  See article from mizzima.com

Burma flag 2010Some previously banned Web sites including Mizzima's Burmese language Web site and other exile-based news Web sites and blogs are now accessible in Burma. IT experts could not explain the new availability and warned that it could be temporary.

The English language Web site of Mizzima is still banned, however.

Likewise, the Norway-based DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma) Web site's Burmese section and the BBC, RFA and VOA Web sites are still banned in Burma.

 

Cambodia

  Cambodia blocks KI-Media over criticism of the government

16th February 2011. See article from phnompenhpost.com
See also Companies Asked ‘To Curb’ Critical Websites from voanews.com

ki media logoThe Cambodian government has denied asking ISPs to block an opposition-aligned website, which is blocked to users through at least four ISPs.

But So Khun, the minister of posts and telecommunications, had recently presided over a meeting with mobile operators, during which he apparently asked for cooperation in blocking traffic to unspecified websites, according to official minutes.

Internet users have reported to The Post that they were unable to access the website KI-Media through four ISPs: Online, WiCam, Metfone, and Ezecom.

Two other sites, Khmerization and Sacrava, which carry content that overlaps with KI-Media, are also blocked by Ezecom.

KI-Media is maintained by several domestic and overseas bloggers who aggregate Cambodia-related news articles with a mix of political commentary, satirical cartoons, Khmer poetry and inspirational quotations.

Some of the government criticism is vitriolic.

  The Art of Blocking

3rd February 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

See also article from english.vietnamnet.vn

Cambodia artThe Cambodian Ministry of Women’s Affairs blocked a website that contains artistic illustrations of bare-breasted Apsara dancers and a Khmer Rouge soldier.

The attempt to shut down reahu.net (or at least to filter it by Internet Service Providers in the Cambodian capital) was echoed by a human rights activist, who was quoted as saying that the Web site should be shut down because it appealed too much to young Cambodians.

reahu.net is currently not accessible by Internet visitors in Cambodia,

 

Cameroon   Twitter blocked on fear of popular uprising

Cameroon flag20th March 2011. See article from cpj.org

For security reasons, the government of Cameroon requests the suspension of the Twitter sms integration on the network, announced a March 8 tweet by Bouba Kae'le', marketing manager of the Cameroon unit of South Africa-based telecommunications provider MTN. The announcement has since disappeared from Kae'les Twitter feed, but was memorialized by a handful of Twitter users who retweeted the comment and the Cameroonian daily Le Jour, which printed a story.

MTN later confirmed the suspension, but without explanation: Twitter SMS Connectivity Service suspended from March 07, 2011 till further notice. The Twitter via SMS offered by MTN Cameroon, one of three telecommunications operators in the country, allowed anyone with a regular phone to punch in a code and start receiving tweets for free.

As ephemeral as Kae'les comment was, his tweet provided a rare insight into a pattern of restrictions imposed by Cameroon's government on the free flow of information as authorities, nervous about Egypt-style popular uprisings, clamp down on traditional and social media outlets.

Update: Lifted...Maybe

23rd March 2011.

Reporters Without Borders is having difficulty establishing whether Cameroonian mobile phone operator MTN's Twitter via SMS service has finally been restored after being blocked for about 10 days at the government's behest. Contradictory statements are being made.

Many Tweets yesterday suggested the service had been restored in practice. And when reached by phone, telecommunications minister Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam seemed to confirm this to Reporters Without Borders: It is not suspended. The measure has been lifted.

 

China  China shuts down more porn websites

1st April 2011. See article from english.cri.cn

China flagChina has recently shut down 62 websites which contained or disseminated pornographic pictures, videos and ads, the Information Office of the State Council said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the statement, the closed websites, which were registered in 15 provinces and municipalities, featured pornographic videos and pictures. The websites also facilitated prostitution and organized nude video talks.

 China shuts down Tibet websites

26th March 2011. See article from cpj.org

Tibet flagInformation authorities in China should restore access to a Tibetan news and blog site whose founder reports has been shuttered without explanation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Wangchuk Tseten, one of the founders of Chinese-language Tibetan affairs website TibetCul, said on his personal microblog that the website went offline on March 16, according to a translation by London-based Tibetan activist and blogger Dechen Pemba on Global Voices Online. Wangchuk Tseten wrote that higher authorities had ordered server operators to shut the site down but that the reason for the decision was confidential, according to Global Voices.

An affiliated website, MyBudala, was also shut down shortly before March 10, according to an article from Dharamsala on The Tibet Post International website. MyBudala had a social networking section which is also inaccessible, according to Global Voices and High Peaks Pure Earth, a blog that translates posts from the Tibetan blogosphere to which Dechen Pemba contributes. At least two other Tibetan-language websites, DobumNet and Sangdhor, are also down, Dechen Pemba told CPJ by email.

 China targets activists using Gmail

26th March 2011.  See article from bbc.co.uk

Gmail logoGoogle has blamed the Chinese government for problems accessing its e-mail service in the country.

Internet users have complained that the authorities have stepped up disruption of its Gmail service in recent weeks.

Google said it had found no technical issues, and blamed a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail. We've noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. We believe activists may have been a specific target.

 China bans Twitter like websites

24th July 2009. See article from thewhir.com

According to an Associated Press report, the Tuesday shut down of Digu and Zuosa, two Chinese website that offer micro-blogging services similar to Twitter.

China has already already cut off mainland access to Facebook, Twitter and other well-known social networking sites. This latest bout of shut downs may be intended to clean the Internet of offensive material before this fall when the People's Republic of China will celebrate its 60th year.

A Digu spokeswoman told the AP that some users had tried to post politically sensitive material, which the company had to censor. She said that the site is offline for at least a week for maintenance.

The technology channels of the popular Sina and Netease portals were also shut down because they allegedly posted news about a corruption probe without attaining clearance from state censors.

  China's Censorship Through the Ages

29th May 2009. See article from timesonline.co.uk

Great Firewall of ChinaThe online version of one of China's most radical magazines has been closed by the censors who patrol the Great Firewall of China. The move comes days before the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The editors of Yanhuang Chunqiu (China Through the Ages), a liberal monthly, received no warning of the shutdown. Nor have they received any explanation for their disappearance from cyberspace.

  Websites warned not to include unapproved videos

2nd April 2009. See article from networkworld.com

China closed a new round of Web sites with pornographic content as it continued a crackdown that has extended from the Internet to mobile phones.

China shut down 162 sites offering pornographic audio or video files for operating without a broadcast permit, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China has closed more than 2,000 Web sites and arrested at least 45 people in a sting against online porn launched in January. It has also vowed to stamp out erotic text messages sent on cell phones. Various blog hosts have been shut down as well, including some known for political content that ran against the central government line.

Web domain owners were also ordered Monday not to broadcast movies or television shows before that had not undergone government censorship and approval, according to an online statement from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

   More influential websites forced to close

17th March 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

This week, two more influential websites have been forced to close, one is Pauwang, one is Wei-cheng Za-Wan.

Pauwang is among one of the longest history BBS in China and it was forced to close on 12 of March, 2009.

According to Hecaitou, the BBS is a platform for editors and professionals. The BBS is associated with a photography club in Beijing

  Catholics Blocked Out

20th February 2009. See article from asianews.it

The Chinese authorities continue to block many Catholic websites, like Radio Veritas of Asia, the website of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference, all of the Catholic sites of Taiwan, and those of the diocese of Hong Kong. The government says that it wants to fight pornography on the internet, but it is systematically taking measures against sites with no pornographic content.

The website AsiaNews has been blocked on an on-again, off-again basis for years, and was not made visible even during the Olympic grace period. The website Reporters Without Borders, very critical of China during the Olympics, was also blocked for months.

  Vulgar Lies

11th February 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Douban.com, one of the most popular Web 2.0 website in China, is forced to close some of its e-groups due to the recent anti-Smuts campaign. However, many of the deleted e-groups are social and political in nature rather than vulgar and indecent.

Peter Guo from Amoiist wrote in his blog that he has received 30 notices from Douban within 3 days concerning deletion of e-groups. Apart from deleting groups, the company is also cleaning user accounts. In Feb 8, Peter found out that his user account was deleted.

A Douban delete blog has been set up to collect deletion notices highlighting the fact that most deleted groups have nothing to do with vulgar content.

 

Cuba   Local Craigslist site blocked in Cuba

5th November 2009.  Based on article from msnbc.msn.com

Cuba flagA popular Web site of classified ads that has given Cubans a taste of the free market has been blocked on the communist-run island, Internet users said.

Cubans trying to access Revolico.com, which says it has more than 1.5 million page views a month, are being diverted to the search engine Google.com.

 

Egypt   Christian blogger detained

2nd May 2009. See article from religiousintelligence.co.uk

Egypt flagThe Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has expressed its strong condemnation and dismay at the continued detention since October 3, 2008, of the Christian blogger, Hani Nazeer, by State Security forces.

The ANHRI claimed that his arrest occurred with the collaboration of the Church in Naga Hammadi, his hometown in Qena Governorate. Hani is the author of Karz elhob blog.

Update: Assaulted and asked to convert to Islam

27th September 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

The lawyer of the arrested blogger Hani Nazeer is still not allowed to visit his client. However, the Christian blogger Nazeer managed to contact The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information revealing that he was assaulted and asked to convert to Islam in exchange for his freedom:

He and other inmates had been beaten by prison officers and had their heads shaved by force. Nazeer said that he has now been registered as a criminal detainee, which puts his life in danger as he will be imprisoned with drug dealers and murderers? He earlier complained to ANHRI lawyers that he was being pressured to convert to Islam in exchange for his freedom

 

Ethiopia   Ethiopia unblocks political and human rights sites

6th March 2009. See article from cpj.org

Ethiopia flagJournalists in Ethiopia informed CPJ over the weekend that our Web site, which was blocked to Internet users in the capital, Addis Ababa, since August, was accessible again.

Independent Ethiopian online news forums and blogs based outside the country also reported that sites discussing political dissent and human rights were also suddenly accessible.

We'll have to wait and see whether, as international attention turns away from Ethiopia, the sites yet again disappear from view.

 

Gambia   Gambia blocks newspaper website

12th June 2010. See article from indexoncensorship.org

Gambia flagEditors of the US-based newspaper Gambia Echo have seen access to their website from within Gambia blocked by the country's government.

In a letter sent to the US State Department on June 4, the imprint's editor-in-chief claims the move is part of a trend under President Yahya Jammeh towards restricting press freedom.

 

India   India blocks Zone H

9th April 2011. See article from cjnewsind.blogspot.com

Iran flagThe blocking of Zone-H website in India shows how easy it is to get any qualitative and genuine site blocked. All you need is an ex parte order from a competent court and the rest would be taken care of by the Indian judicial system that taken decades to get a dispute resolved. Effectively and practically it means blocking of Zone-H website for more than 20 years or so unless challenged successfully in India.

 

Iran

  Facebook and YouTube unblocked

18th March 2009. See article from eurasianet.org

Facebook logoIranian authorities blocked the popular social networking site, Facebook, in 2006 as illegal.

But in February 2009, officials in Tehran took the surprising step of unblocking Facebook. Since then, the site’s Iranian membership has been growing fast. Facebook is now the 10th most popular website in Iran.

Internet users admit to being puzzled by the sudden reversal, which was accompanied by the unblocking of the YouTube video-sharing site. There has been no official comment about the decision.

  More websites blocked including RFI and Deutsche Welle

31st January 2009. See article from rsf.org

Iran flag Reporters Without Borders condemns the wave of censorship that has hit many Iranian and foreign Farsi-language websites since 24 January. Most of the sites contain articles critical of the government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. International news media websites have also been blocked since 26 January.

The Farsi-language site of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle has been inaccessible since 26 January, as has the Farsi version of the Radio France Internationale site and the Arabic-language site of the satellite TV station Al-Arabiya.

Bahman Hedayati, the editor of the Parsine website, described the blocking of his site as “illegal”. The literary website Haftan was blocked the same day by certain Internet Service Providers without any explanation. Iran’s leading literary critics have for the past three years been writing for the site, which is very popular with young Iranians.

Several news websites that criticise the government or belong to potential rivals of President Ahmadinejad have also been rendered inaccessible by ISPs since 24 January. Farda News and Parsine, sites that support Tehran mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, a future Ahmadinejad rival, are among those that have been blocked.

 

Guatemala   Wordpress.com blocked in Guatemala

1st July 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Guatemala flagInternet Service Providers CLARO, TIGO and MOVISTAR (Telefónica), Guatemala’s most prominent Internet Service Providers (ISPs), are ignoring the country's constitution. Guatemalan users have reported blocked access to Wordpress.

Guatemala’s largest newspapers have not yet reported the incident. Other bloggers have called the office of consumer protection, but have received few answers. This block occured just after a political crisis last month, when social media tools were used to protest against the Government and demand justice.

 

Indonesia   Gay human rights site blocked in Indonesia

14th February 2012. See article from globalpost.com

Indonesia flagIGLHRC website banned in Indonesia

Statement from Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

This is not the first time that attempts to organize and educate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies have been met with state censorship. All too often, governments use the charge of pornography as a smokescreen to attack freedom of expression. Oppressive governments can't stop the tide of LGBT voices---whether they are on the Internet, in the media or on the streets. IGLHRC stands with human rights defenders in Indonesia in their struggle to keep the web free for dialog on basic human rights issues.

 

Italy   Italians extending internet blocking to sites 'inciting' crime

5th March 2009. See article from metamorphosis.org.mk

Italy flagThe Italian Senate approved - and the lower chamber is ready to pass draft law 733 called Pacchetto sicurezza (Security Package).

Under section 50 bis of this forthcoming law, a public prosecutor which is given serious circumstantial evidence that an online activity of inciting crime has been committed, is allowed to ask the Minister of Home Affair to order the ISP's to shut down the concerned network resource. ISP refusal to comply with Minister's order should be fined with a penalty up to 250,000 Euros.

Crime-inciting is very difficult to handle, since the border between free-speech and law violation is often blurred (would a website supporting freedom rebels of a country be - per se - inciting to commit crimes?).

Italy had a "sound" tradition in trying to enforce citizen's global surveillance systems through ISP's and telco operators, adopting every sort of justifications (from copyright, to child pornography, to online gambling and now to crime-inciting actions). Oddly enough, nevertheless, these good intentions fell always on innocent citizens' shoulders, while true criminals stay absolutely free.

 

Kazakhstan   50 more sites blocked

10th September 2011. See article from cyberlaw.org.uk

Kazakhstan flagKazakhstan closed over 50 foreign sites under a court ruling against promoting religious extremism and terrorism, the Kazakh General Prosecutor's Office reported.

The Sariarka Court of Astana made a decision on 51 illegal foreign sites and closed them down for spreading products in Kazakhstan which promoted religious extremism and terrorism.

  Radio Free Europe not so Free in Kazakhstan

7th March 2011. See article from cpj.org

It's election season in Kazakhstan and the government isn't risking an Arab-style revolt (a very unlikely prospect anyway). But to play it safe, in recent weeks the Kazakh authorities have increased web censorship in the Central Asian country.

Last week our bureau in Almaty noticed that some RFE/RL sites (including our Kazakh, Russian, and English-language sites) were blocked for those who connect through the biggest ISPs -- KazTeleCom and Nursat, which are closely associated with the state.

  Kazakhstan blocks news websites

2nd May 2010. See article from cpj.org

Kazakh authorities must order the state-owned Internet Internet provider Kazakhtelecom to immediately restore access to the independent news portal Respublika and the Web site of its sister publication Respublika-Delovoye Obozreniye, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Access to both news portals, which often criticize Kazakh authorities for corruption and human rights violations, has been blocked today for all clients of Kazakhtelecom, the independent regional news Web site Ferghana reported. Respublika said in a statement its research showed that clients of other Internet providers in Kazakhstan, as well as Web users abroad, were able to access the online publications.

  Kazakhstan blocks Livejournal and mail.ru

21st March 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Blogs on mail.ru - popular Russian information, entertainment and mail portal - have become the second victim of blockage campaign in Kazakhstan after LiveJournal. Access via national telecom operator is denied only to blogs, all other services of the portal work fine. Access to the blogs section is possible via anonymizers.

Livejournal (Kazakhtelecom has never admitted filtering of this website) is widely believed to be a victim of political battles between the authorities and Rakhat Aliev, a runaway former presidential son-in-law and media tycoon, sentenced to 40 years in prison for kidnapping and preparation of a coup. The man has a couple of blogs on Livejournal.

But the reasons for filtering blogs.mail.ru is much harder to be perceived. They ususally have low-profile content and are assigned to every owner of a mailbox automatically. There is no dissent, and - as believed - there was no Aliev’s blog there. Why it was necessary to block it then? Is it a policy of protectionism in favor of the much more obedient domestic blog platforms? Nobody knows.

 

Kyrgyzstan  Re-igniting Censorship

29th February 2012. See article from eurasianet.org

Kyrgyzstan flagAuthorities in Bishkek have again blocked the independent Russian-language news site Fergananews.com, eight months after a controversial parliament resolution saying the site should not be accessible to readers in Kyrgyzstan. It is unclear why the decision took so long to implement.

Kyrgyzstan's legislature voted unanimously to block the Moscow-based website for perceived bias last June, around the one-year anniversary of interethnic bloodshed between Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities in the country's south. According to the parliamentary resolution, Fergananews (previously Ferghana.ru), which covered the 2010 ethnic violence and its aftermath in exhaustive and critical detail, ignites ethnic hatred.

 Igniting Censorship

25th June 2011. See article from rferl.org

The Kyrgyz parliament has adopted a resolution calling for a news website to be banned, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz and Uzbek services report.

The parliament deputies claimed that fergana.ru ignites ethnic hatred among Uzbeks and Kyrgyz and therefore should be blocked. Deputies officially recommended that the Prosecutor-General's Office take measures to try to prevent access to the website in Kyrgyzstan within three months.

The decision was based on a suggestion by the parliamentary commission on the deadly ethnic clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern Osh and Jalal-Abad regions last year.

 

Kuwait   Offending God in Kuwait

28h September 2009. See article from google.com

Kuwait flagKuwait has blocked a number of Internet blogs and websites with links to terror cells and groups, a top official said.

The ministry has blocked blogs ... used by some to communicate with terror cells and extremist groups, communications ministry undersecretary Abdulmohsen al-Mazeedi told Kuwait's An-Nahar newspaper.

He said the ministry had also blocked sites deemed offensive to God and the emir and which undermined what he called national unity, in addition to sites promoting pornography.

Mazeedi said the ministry was applying the law and aims to preserve Islamic values. Before blocking any site, the ministry had taken permission from the public prosecution.

 

Libya   YouTube Blocked

13th February 2010. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Libya flagOn January 24th, 2010, Libya Telecom and Technology (LTT) has blocked access to the popular video sharing website Youtube and to several Libyans based abroad political and independent websites such as Libya Al Youm, Al Manara, Jeel Libya, Akhbar Libya,and Libya Al Mostakbal.

According to Human Rights Watch it seems that Youtube was blocked after videos of family members of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and of demonstrations in Benghazi by families of prisoners who were killed in Abu Salim prison in 1996, were published on the video sharing website.

The move has worried Libyan bloggers who fear that the ban will be expanded to include their personal blogs. Some Facebook groups, like We want YouTube back in Libya, have been set up to protest the ban and provide instructions for how to use proxy servers to bypass it.

 

Maldives

  hilath.com Closed Down

27th November 2011. See article from en.rsf.org

Maldives flagReporters Without Borders condemns the closure on 19 November of the blog run by Ismail Khilath Hilath Rasheed (www.hilath.com) by the Communications Authority of Maldives on the orders of the Islamic affairs ministry, on the grounds that it contained anti-Islamic material.

The increase in acts of religious intolerance is a threat to the Maldives' young democracy, the press freedom organization said. Incidents involving media workers are rare but that is only because most of them prefer to censor themselves and stay away from subjects relating to Islam, unlike Ismail Khilath Rasheed.

We request the immediate reopening of his blog. The government should not give in to the fanatical minority but must do all it can to ensure the media are free to tackle any subjects they choose. The Religious Unity Act should be changed to allow this.

According to Rasheed, the Islamic affairs ministry had his blog in its sights because he is a Sufi Muslim, not a Sunni like most Maldivians, and has always been highly critical of religious fundamentalism. He said his blog, the first to be shut down since January 2009, is just the fist victim of an impending crackdown by the conservative fringe in charge of the Islamic affairs ministry. The blogger intends to bring his case to court, since a website shut by the government can only be reopened by a court order.

 

Mauritania   Mauritania arrests online journalist and blacks major new site

19th March 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Mauritania flagAbbass Ould Braham, a Mauritanian online journalist was arrested on 16 March 2009, for an article he published on Taqadoumy.com website.

Abbass’s article Deep into Mauritania: A Cross-Section of the new Mauritanian Regime deals with the August 6 coup d’état, the Junta and the Mauritanian political system:

Dozens of Mauritanian journalists tried to stage a sit-in late Monday in front of the UN office in Nouakchott in solidarity with the journalist Abbass Ould Braham when the Mauritanian riot police raided the site, firing tear gas at them and allegedly beating them with truncheons.

A Facebook group has also been created in support of Abbass.

The two main ISP’s in Mauritania have been ordered by the General Persecutor, Seyid Ould Ghaïlani, to block access to what is considered to be the country’s second biggest news website, Taqadoumy.

Today, Mauritel, Mauritania’s state-owned telecommunications company, followed the block order by banning the website. If confirmed, this is the first case (since 2005 Mauritanian coup d’état) of barring Mauritanian Internet users from accessing a Mauritanian website.

 

New Zealand   Great Firewall of New Zealand...

5th February 2009. Based on article from qlinks.net

New Zealand flagThe New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is setting up a filter system that will allow internet service providers to stop people accessing child pornography.

But there are concerns that the power to censor browsing could be abused. The filter system has already been trialled in hundreds of thousands of New Zealand households. Internal Affairs deputy secretary Keith Manch says the voluntary system blocks access to 7000 websites carrying images of child sexual abuse.

Internet Safety group NetSafe welcomes the move, but says there could be concerns if the department later uses the filter to block a wider variety of websites. Manch says there are no such plans and the filter is only for targeting the sexual abuse of children. He says the department is finalising its analysis from the trial and will be discussing with internet providers how to implement the system.

7th February 2009. See article from arstechnica.com

At the end of this month, New Zealand's ISPs are required to start disconnecting users accused of infringing copyright multiple times. ISPs are also being asked to start censoring 7,000 Web sites under a government plan to make it harder for Kiwis to access child pornography over the Internet.

Child pornography restrictions will be extended to the Internet under a program initiated by the Department of Internal Affairs, though it will remain voluntary, according to Radio New Zealand News. The system relies on a blacklist of specific Web sites, and it has about 7,000 entries at the moment.

The program has already been tested in trials across the country, and ISPs are now looking into implementation details.

New Zealand says it has no current plans to extend the system behind child porn, which sets it apart from neighbouring Australia, where an ambitious (and required) censorship program has the right to block any sort of illegal content.

 

Pakistan   Rolling Stone...

28th July 2011. See article from english.aljazeera.net

rrolling stone logoWhen websites are blocked in a country with over 20 million internet users, people tend to notice. In Pakistan, where the openness of the internet has been threatened regularly for more than half a decade, new developments are quickly noticed by the country's online populace.

The latest incident involves the blocking, by at least 13 of the country's ISPs, of the website of popular American music magazine Rolling Stone. The block comes shortly after the magazine published an article highlighting Pakistan's insane military spending.

  Shut Up!...

12th February 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Pakistan flagThe Internet governing body Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which monitors internet access from Pakistan has placed a URL-specific ban on one particular video in which the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari is seen to deliver a very forceful and curt Shut-up to some participant at the rally he was addressing a rally barely a few weeks back.

It must be noted that Mr. Zardari actually says in Urdu: What has happened to this democracy ……. Shut Up

 

Qatar   Tagged as Censors...

13th February 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Qatar flagQatar is experiencing a rise in Internet filtering:

www.tagged.com has just been banned in Qatar (and is also banned in many countries in the world)

The ISP QTel had remarked on the specific block:

Decision to Block Specific Social Networking Site in Line with Culture of Qatar and Expectations of Customers

Qtel today provided an update on its Community Internet Safety Policy, following the decision over the weekend to block a specific social networking site within Qatar.

In its role as a licensed Internet Service Provider (ISP) and in response to customer requests, Qtel has a clear policy that aims to prevent damage to the values of the community from harmful material on websites. This policy has received strong support from the local community and ongoing market research shows that families and residents in Qatar overwhelmingly prefer there to be safeguards in place against illegal, pornographic and socially-harmful material.

 

Russia   Russian court asks for YouTube block...

21st August 2010. See article from indexoncensorship.org

Russia flagThe website of the Russian Centre for the Protection of Forestry (Roslesozashchita) has been blocked since 13 August after it contradicted the official government line that brush fires had not reached areas contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The agency said fires were reported in the Bryansk region bordering Belarus and Ukraine, where radioactive residue covers large areas.

Officials seem reluctant to comment on the radioactive threat, despite warnings from Greenpeace Russia. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) suggest the website may have been blocked because the information posted was embarrassing for the government rather than incorrect.

  Russian court asks for YouTube block...

31st July 2010. Based on article from techeye.net

A Russian court in the Far Eastern Federal District has ordered all local internet service providers to block access to Youtube and four other websites which it believes harbour and promote extremist views.

The Komsomolsky-on-Amur court wanted the sites banned because Hitler's writings, such as Mein Kampf, were available to read, while others had a video uploaded entitled Russia for Russians, which is a slogan used by far right groups in the country.

  Russian ISP blocks websites according to government classification as extremist...

10th December 2009. See article from indexoncensorship.org

Claims of internet censorship have spread amongst the Russian blogosphere after the wireless internet service provider, Yota, admitted blocking access to certain websites.

Denis Sverdlov, chief executive of WiMax operator Skartel, which runs the Yota brand, acknowledged that Yota blocks access to sites that are classified as extremist by the Justice Ministry.

This strongly smells of political censorship, said Denis Bilunov, a senior member of Kasparov's Other Russia movement. He said the most likely explanation was Russian Technologies' involvement in the company.

 

Rwanda   Rwanda blocks website of critical newspaper...

14th June 2010. See article from cpj.org

Rwanda flagThe Committee to Protect Journalists called on Rwandan authorities today to provide information as to why the Web site of newspaper Umuvugizi is inaccessible in the run-up to August presidential elections. The state-run Rwanda News Agency reported on June 3 that the Web site of Umuvugizi, a leading private paper known for its critical coverage of the government, could not be opened on the networks of the country’s only Internet service providers.

 

Saudi   Saudi blocks Iran...

11th February 2012. See article from rferl.org

Saudi flagIranian news websites report that Saudi Arabia has blocked the official website of Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which is available in a dozen languages, including Arabic.

Shafaf says Khamenei's website was blocked by Saudi officials on February 3. The hard-line Shafaf website posted a screenshot of the page it claims Saudi users get when they try to access Khamenei's website.

The website claims Saudi officials decided to block Khamenei's official website because of what it described as Iran's influence on the Islamic awakening. Iranian officials have been using the term as part of their efforts to put their own stamp on the Arab Spring uprisings, which they claim have been inspired by Iran's own 1979 revolution.

Political tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been escalating over Tehran's alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington and also over last March's intervention in Bahrain by Saudi forces to help the country's Sunni rulers crush pro-reform demonstrations by the Shi'ite majority.

  Saudi blocks Tumblr...

19th October 2011. See article from thenextweb.com

tumblr logoIt would seem that Saudi Arabia is the latest country to deem Tumblr blogs inappropriate for public consumption. Reports are emerging on Twitter, and ironically on Tumblr as well, that Saudi residents can no longer access the blogging platform.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide Blocked

20th August 2011. See article from indexoncensorship.org

According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Saudi Arabian listeners have been unable to access their websites.

While no official reason has been given for the block, the station believes that it may be linked to a video posted on the Arabic version of the website. The video, posted on 15 July, showed a migrant worker being beaten. Earlier this year, Radio Netherlands Worldwide also reported on the exploitation and deplorable working conditions of domestic workers at the Saudi Embassy in The Hague.

  Saudi temporarily blocks Facebook...

16th November 2010. See article from news.cnet.com

Facebook was down for several hours in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

An official with Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said Saturday that the social-networking site was temporarily blocked that morning because it doesn't conform to the country's conservative values, according to the Associated Press.

The official said Facebook's content crossed a line but added that the block was only temporary.

  Susie's Big Adventure blocked

30th May 2009. See article from middle-east-online.com

Susie's Big Adventure in Saudi Arabia has turned a little dark: the US expat's chirpy blog on life in the kingdom with a Saudi husband has been blocked by the country's censors.

Susie said she has no idea why the Saudi authorities have put a block on her blog (susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com).

Susie's Big Adventure is mostly about life as an expat woman in a new culture - new foods to eat, places to visit and places to shop, and odd cultural experiences.

When the Arizona native strays to more current issues -- like a recent post she headlined Saudi Arabia Wastes Biggest Untapped Natural Resource: Women - she says nothing that is not in the local newspapers.

Her most popular post was about buying Katy Perry's hit CD One of the Boys in Jeddah and finding that the cover art, a picture of Perry in shorts, was overdrawn to show her in long pants.

  Saudi unblocks online newspaper Elaph

25th February 2009. See article from arabnews.com

A two-year Saudi block against the London-based Elaph online daily has been lifted.

The move comes a few days after a major reshuffle in the government. According to the daily's technical department, the paper received 40,000 visitors to its website from the Kingdom on the first day the block was lifted.

According to Arab News sources, a high government official ordered the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) to lift the block.

Saud said the lift was one step of many taken toward increased openness that the Kingdom is currently experiencing under the leadership of King Abdullah. He added that the government fully understands the importance of free press in the country's development.

 

 

 

Serbia   Webmasters in jail for affiliate links to foreign gambling sites

22nd October 2010. See article from globalvoicesonline.org

Serbia flagDjordje Djokic and Dusan Jaglicic created www.freebeting.net and www.kladionicar.com in 2005, two sites that provided betting quotes, advice and sports news, but also links and ads to legal betting sites run from abroad. The two young entrepreneurs made money through affiliate sales on their sites - and plenty of it: authorities claim some 550 thousand Euros were made in profits from these sites.

Dusan and Djordje are now in a Serbian county jail. And they have been there for the past eight months, with no possibility of bail, no trial and no legal conviction. On February 23, Dusan and Djordje were arrested for, as Serbian media first reported, suspicion of gaming fraud. Current official charges include unlicensed organization of gaming and money laundering.

TechCrunch covered the story [EN] back in March of this year and doubts as to the charges in question were brought up almost immediately:

Both sites are resources for sports fans who like to bet on various sporting events. They provide stats, news, tips and other information related to sports betting. But revenue is generated through banner ads with links to bookmakers outside of Serbia and via SMS services with related betting information not through actually taking bets.

In other words, the two sites only refer users to other betting sites and get paid for each referral. It therefore looks like Djokic' and Jaglic(ic' have been arrested, perhaps mistakenly, for affiliate marketing.

 

South Africa   South Africa arresting critical bloggers

8th November 2009. See article from fto.co.za

South Africa flagIn the last two days people from a few websites and blogs that are critical of the ANC led government has been arrested, three of which we know have been released with no charges made against them.

It is clear that the South African government is cracking down on bloggers that are critical of the way they run the country and they want to censor the information these bloggers and websites give out.

One of these are Zasucks where the blogger Uhuru Guru was arrested, spent the night in jail and was released with no charges. No word if he got his computer equipment back that was confiscated.

At another site Boerevryheid.co.za another two bloggers got arrested, their equipment taken and was later released without charges, also no word if they got their equipment back. A lot of people claim that this is because South Africa wants the bad publicity to stop before the 2010 soccer world cup but instead of dealing with the crime directly they now try to scare these bloggers as some would say into shock.

Another blogger of Boer Freedom has been arrested, also this time no charges after spending some time in jail. Some claim this is because they blog about the boer genocide that is taking place in South Africa.

Whatever the reason, the government is kicking down doors and arresting people that are critical of them.

 

Sri Lanka  Sri Lanka blocks eNews over embarrassing news story

23rd October 2011. See article from cpj.org. See also article from en.rsf.org

Sri LankaThe Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that access to anti-government news website Lanka eNews has been blocked inside Sri Lanka, according to the site's exiled editor and users inside the country. All three language versions of the site, English, Sinhala, and Tamil, have been blocked.

A Sri Lankan journalist told CPJ by email today that the shutdown could have stemmed from Lanka eNews' October 15 coverage of a shootout involving parliamentarians close to Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In Colombo on Saturday, a presidential aide and his bodyguard were shot dead in a fight involving opposing factions of the Sri Lankan ruling party during local elections, news reports said. Other Sri Lankan media either ignored the story or played it down.

  Sri Lanka blocks political discussion

28th June 2011. See article from colombopage.com

The Centre for Human Rights of Sri Lanka issuing a statement says it is seriously concerned about blocking Groundviews, Vikalpa and the Transparency International websites, which act as alternative voices, by Sri Lanka Telecom.

The Centre for Human Rights said that at a time there is serious censorship and self-censorship in the main stream media, websites have become an alternative space for public discussion about sensitive issues.

The organization points out that the blocked websites are spaces, where serious, sometimes controversial, discussions are carried out by intellectuals and those who are politically sensitive, both pro and antigovernment.

Lanka Freedom, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) website, Lanka Guardian run by Asian Human Rights Commission, Lanka E news, Lanka News Web and TamilNet are among other websites blocked in Sri Lanka says the Center for Human Rights.

  100 adult websites blocked

28th August 2010. See article from google.com

Sri Lanka has blocked over 100 porn websites that allegedly feature local men and women.

The Sri Lankan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has been asked to prevent users in the country accessing some 107 adult websites, the government information department said.

The move followed complaints heard at Colombo's Juvenile Court that children had free access to the websites, which featured Sri Lankan men and women.

Other adult sites featuring non-Sri Lankans will remain available, however.

 

Sudan   Sudan blocked from using LinkedIn

24th April 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Sudan flagIt was confirmed that Internet users in Sudan cannot access Linkedin, who were blocked by Linkedin since several months ago.

Kay Luo LinkedIn, Sr. Director of Corporate Communications told me: Regarding the download, we (are) complying with the US law, so it is blocked in Syria. For the same reason, Sudan is blocked from accessing our site.”

I am not a legal expert but by looking at the law, it says nothing about blocking website access? Some US based Linkedin competitors like ecademy and Plaxo are still accessible in Sudan and the vast majority of US based websites, So the question is why Linkedin only blocks access?

 

Swaziland   Swaziland blocks opposition website

8th December 2010. Based on article from google.com

Swaziland flagA banned Swaziland opposition party on Tuesday said the government had blocked access to its website, which had been hosting a poll on whether the kingdom should hold multi-party elections.

The People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) said the government had made good on its promise to censor cyberspace by blocking access to its site, pudemo.org: Due to the fact that the website is not hosted within the country, it is still accessible everywhere outside the country, it added.

PUDEMO's website last month launched a poll on whether the country should hold multi-party elections to choose the members of its House of Assembly. 57% of the 831 people who voted in the online poll said they preferred multi-party elections to the current tinkhundla electoral system, based on constituent chiefdoms and seen as tightly controlled by the king.

 

Syria

 Bambuser, a mobile live streaming video website blocked

26th February 2012. See article from guardian.co.uk

Syria flagThe Syrian government has blocked a premiere live stream website a day after one of its users broadcast images of a bombing believed to have been carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Bambuser -- a mobile live stream service based in Sweden -- has been in close contact with activists on the ground in Syria for over eight months. The dissidents use the service to broadcast streaming video of conditions in their country in real time. With foreign media blocked, online citizen journalism has become a crucial medium for telling stories from within Syria's borders. Bambuser's executive chairman, Hans Eriksson, says approximately 90-95% of the live video coming out of Syria is streamed through Bambuser.

The prime purpose of it is to get pictures out of the country, and show the world what's going on, both in terms of the violence but also of the determination of the citizens, Eriksson told the Guardian.

 WordPress is Blocked...

22nd September 2011. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Syrian Twitter users are reporting that the popular blogging platform WordPress is blocked on ISPs in the country. This move comes amidst a wave of anti-regime protests that's taking the country by storm despite being faced by a brutal governmental crackdown.

And user @seemdu confirmed[ar] the report, while at the same time alluding to the fact that many Syrian Internet users are familiar with censorship circumvention tool:

They blocked WordPress... as if people are still using the Syrian proxy. What stupidity! #Syria

It's still not clear if WordPress is blocked on all ISPs in Syria.

  Facebook and YouTube Unblocked...

10th February 2011. See article from indexoncensorship.or

Syria has restored access to video sharing website youtube and social networking website facebook.

Access to youtube had been blocked in August 2007 and Facebook was blocked in November 2007. Syrians were unable to directly access these websites and could only gain access to them using proxy servers.

While internet users in Syria were able to directly access these sites now, the head of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, Mazen Darwish, would only say that he had semiofficial confirmation the ban is being lifted.

 Facebook banned over people's country of residence entries

19th September 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

IAccording to Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, Syria is planning to reintroduce the ban on Facebook after a first ban of the social networking website in November 2007. This came after Facebook allowed residents of the Golan Heights to mark their country of abode as Israel.

Until recently Golan Facebook users were compelled to enter Syria as their country of residence on their page. This change came after a campaign organized by HonestReporting, an organization dedicated to defending Israel, who launched the Facebook group Facebook, Golan Residents Live in Israel, not Syria.

  Not LinkedIn...

22nd April 2009. Based on article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Last week, Global Voices Advocacy broke the news that Syrian users had been cut off from LinkedIn's services. The business-oriented social networking site had stated in e-mails to several of its users that, Under the User Agreement, LinkedIn Users warrant that they are not prohibited from receiving U.S. origin products, including services or software. As such, and as a matter of corporate policy, we do not allow member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

LinkedIn realized its error following the publication of the piece on Advox. Twitter users, outraged by LinkedIn's decision to cut off Syrian users, re-tweeted links to the aforementioned articles, resulting in the issue grabbing the attention of LinkedIn staffer “kluo,” who quickly pointed out that the deletion of user accounts was a human error.

 

Tajikistan   No Religion...

2nd June 2011. See article from rferl.org

Tajikistan flagA prominent Tajik religious and political figure has criticized authorities for restricting access to his religious website, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda told RFE/RL today that restricting access to turajon.com is unconstitutional, because the website is not political.

The State Communications Service issued a directive, a copy of which was shown to journalists on May 19, ordering internet providers to restrict access to the site because of a technical problem. As of May 20, the website could only be accessed by using proxy servers.

The website was created by Turajonzoda and his brothers a year ago. Since then, it has had more than one million visits. Turajonzoda is a former head of Tajikistan's Muslims, a former deputy prime minister, and one of the former leaders of the Tajik Islamic movement. His brothers are also well known religious leaders. Turajon.com is devoted to Islamic issues. The Turajonzoda brothers use it to publish their views, and sometimes answer questions from site visitors about religious issues.

  No News...

3rd October 2010. Based on article from centralasianewswire.com

The servers which distribute news published by three Tajik web sites are down and Tajik readers are unable to access their information.

News sites owned and operated by TOJNews.tj and Avesta, as well as an opposition blog at TJKNnews.com, are now inaccessible from Tajikistan.

Avesta chief Zafar Abdullaev believes an independent agency has taken the initiative to block access to the sites, and is reluctant to describe the situation as a deliberate attempt by the Tajik government to censor the news.

Since the end of the last week the users of Vavilon internet provider in Tajikistan could not access Ferghana.Ru pages. Today, the access to the website was blocked by other Tajik internet providers – Telecom technology, Istera and Tajiktelecom.

 

Thailand   Veoh Blocked

30th April 2009. Thanks to Spoonbender

Veoh logoThe video sharing website veoh.com is still blocked in Thailand. It was originally blocked at the same time that YouTube was famously blocked. However veoh.com did not cause the same amount of international embarassment so never go unblocked

  Censored FACT

30th April 2009. Based on article from prachatai.net 

FACT Thai logoTwo ISPs, TOT ADSL and Buddy Broadband along with Kasetsart University have been blocking Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand (FACT) since at least noon on April 25.

  Situation Normal

Based on article from facthai.wordpress.com

Thailand flagThe Thai internet censors at MICT are currently blocking 6,218 websites 'affecting national security' which includes lese majeste, 2,307 pornographic websites and 430 gambling websites, admitting to 8,955 blocked websites.

  Red Siam Manifesto

15th February 2009. Based on article from prachatai.com

Coup for the Rich bookA leading Bangkok-based professor who has joint British and Thai nationality fled Thailand in the face of a lengthy sentence under the country's draconian lese-majesty laws, which forbid criticism of the king.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn arrived in England at the weekend after being charged under the laws. He had been due to present himself to the police in Bangkok today and could have faced 15 years in jail if found guilty.

Ungpakorn has been blogging about the issue with a lengthy article called the Red Siam Manifesto.

Aree Jiworarak, Director of the Information Technology Supervision Office under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, sent e-mails to executives of internet service providers (ISPs), saying that the Office had found there was a publication disseminated on the internet called the Red Siam Manifesto which affected national security.

He asked for their cooperation in keeping watch for the circulation of the article. And if your systems can enable filters to prevent access to it, please do so, as that would greatly benefit national security. Please act urgently.

The director also sent a list of web pages he deemed as constituting lèse majesté, and asked the ISPs to block them urgently. Those included blogs containing parts of the article.

  Fighting Back

7th February 2009. Based on article from facthai.wordpress.com

Fact ThaiThailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, the Official Censor of the Military Coup, has blocked  at least 17,775 websites which, along with blocking by the Royal Thai Police, resulted in more than 50,000 websites blocked in Thailand. Public webboard discussions, circumvention tools, voices from Thailand’s Muslim South and critical commentary of Thailand’s monarchy were particularly targetted for censorship.

Thailand’s military government also passed a Computer-Related Crimes Act with draconian penalties and onerous data retention provisions abnegating privacy and anonymity and chilling public discussion of vital issues among Thais. The result of this cybercrime law was to criminalise circumvention with one notable exception, the Virtual Private Networks (VPN) relied on by business to create a secure, private, encrypted channel.

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) has now provided links to easy tools for private citizens to legally ignore Thailand’s Internet censorship. Virtual Private Networks have been complicated to set up and difficult to maintain. However, with these two free, public tools, VPN is available to everyone.

Based on article from cpj.org

CPJ logoThailand's Internet--once open and free--is fast morphing into one of Asia's more censored cyberspaces. But a new group of concerned Thai citizens, known as the Thai Netizen Network (TNN), is bidding to turn back the tide of government censorship through advocacy and monitoring.

Web sites that have posted materials deemed potentially offensive to the Thai royal family have been blocked by successive military-appointed and democratically elected Thai governments. And the campaign of censorship is accelerating under new Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Beginning last year, a group of academics, activists, journalists and webmasters held informal meetings to discuss the emerging threat to Internet freedom in the wake of the passage of the 2007 Cyber Crime Act and the intensified use of lese majeste charges against journalists, commentators, and everyday Internet users. Both laws give Thai officials the authority to censor news and opinions that could be deemed a threat to national security or the monarchy.

TNN coalesced into a formal organization soon after several local Web sites, including news and commentary outlets Prachathai and Fah Diew Kan, were threatened with closure last year by officials for posting materials offensive to the monarchy. Fah Diew Kan's site was eventually blocked in January after officials threatened the site's ISP administrator.

TNN coordinator Supinya Klangnarong told CPJ that the new group's main missions are to keep Thailand's Internet open and free, to monitor government surveillance and censorship, and to provide moral and legal support to Internet users and writers who encounter harassment for their postings.

Currently, TNN is publicizing the case and arranging legal representation for Suwicha Thakor, an oil-rig engineer who was arrested and held without bail on January 14 for posting materials onto the Internet considered offensive to the monarchy. They have also taken up the case of BBC correspondent Jonathan Head, who faces three different lese majeste complaints filed by a senior Thai police official.

  The War Room

6th February 2009. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Thailand flagThe government in Thailand has set up a special website urging people to inform on anyone criticising the monarchy.

It has also established a war room to co-ordinate the blocking of websites deemed offensive to the monarchy. On its first day of operation the centre banned nearly 5,000 websites. The Ministry of Information had already blocked many thousands of sites, but that work is now being accelerated by the new centre.

Internet users are being urged to show their loyalty to the king by informing via a new website called protecttheking.net (Thai language), which has been set up by a parliamentary committee. It calls on all citizens to inform on anyone suspected of insulting or criticising the monarchy.

The new website appears to be part of a concerted effort by the government and its conservative supporters to stifle any debate on the future of the monarchy, before it can gather momentum, our correspondent says.

Based on article from prachatai.com

The committee formalized the Internet Security Operations Centre (ISOC), formerly known as the ‘War Room’, to monitor inappropriate content on the internet, with officials from the ICT Ministry and other relevant agencies keeping watch 24 hours a day. A special call centre is being set up for the public to give information on inappropriate websites.

In the ISOC room, staff will be divided into three sections to monitor three categories of inappropriate websites: (1) those which offend the nation, religion, and monarchy, (2) those which affect tradition and culture, such as Hi5, or advertise abortion pills, and (3) those which provide gambling and dangerous online games such as the GTA game, said the ICT Minister.

According to the minister, the MICT has requested court orders to close or block 4,818 URLs which include 4,683 web pages offensive to the monarchy, 98 pages offering pornography, and 37 pages containing false advertisements.

The MICT and the Ministry of Culture have also been monitoring the postings of pictures of female students with phone numbers for the purpose of prostitution, and have found an increase in online advertisements for abortion pills and sex gear.

  Targeted at Cambodia but blocked in Thailand

3rd February 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Thailand flagA former freelance editorial cartoonist for Far Eastern Economic Review from 1997-1999, Bun Heang Ung presently lives in Australia. Observing his home country Cambodia from the other side, the 57-year-old cartoonist launched Sacrava Toons blog in 2004, nearly a decade after he published The Murderous Revolution : Life and Death in Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, his first book of black and white line illustrations that tells his very own experiences of the Khmer Rouge regime. In voicing his opinions, the talented cartoonist publish his drawings of all things that matter to him on the Web.

Recently, according to Wikileaks, the political cartoonist’s blog is being blocked in Thailand, where its Ministry of Information and Communication Technology is in charge of banning Internet sites that violates its Kingdom’s lèse majesté laws.

  CPJ lay into Thailand's deteriorating media climate

2nd February 2009. Based on article from cpj.org

CPJ logoThe Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about mounting government threats to media and Internet freedom in Thailand, including legal action against community radio stations and censoring thousands of Web sites.

Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga recently told a parliamentary session that his ministry intends to censor 3,000 to 4,000 Web sites for posting materials considered offensive to the Thai monarchy. The Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Ministry announced on January 5 that it had shut down 2,300 Web sites for violating the country's strict lese majeste laws.

Piraphan said that he had established 10 different panels to implement the Internet crackdown and that his ministry was working closely with the ICT and Defense ministries. He mentioned in particular that three Thai nationals had been identified for posting anti-monarchy materials on the Web site Manussaya and that one of the writers has been arrested on lese majeste charges.

 

Tunisia   Wikileaks Blocking

9th December 2010. Based on article from ifex.org

Tunisia flagOn 6 December 2010, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that the Tunisian government practiced their favourite action of blocking serious sites to deprive citizens of access to information. The government blocked the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar's website in Tunisia after it published WikiLeaks correspondence between the Tunisian and US foreign affairs departments. This action followed on the heels of the blocking of the WikiLeaks site in Tunisia.

On 4 December, Al-Akhbar published a set of documents pertaining to Arab countries, including Tunisia, as a result, the Tunisian government immediately blocked the site.

  Blocking Methods

21st August 2010. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

We will summarize the four Tunisian censorship processes. These four techniques have been adopted by the Tunisian censors at various times in the history of Tunisian Net, then gradually combined to form one of the most repressive online censorship machine.

  1. Selective blocking by URL: such as is the case of Wikipedia. Indeed, rather than blocking the entire online encyclopedia, the censors selectively block the most offensive pages. This is why the French Wikipedia page on Ben Ali or the page relating to the practice of censorship in Tunisia remain inaccessible. Same for the Google video. If the majority of videos are still available, some, however, are blocked.
     
  2. DNS Filtering: At the second stop, the Tunisian censors block the site by banning the domain and subdomain attached to it. This is the method most commonly used, especially to ban Tunisian bloggers emitting unpleasant opinions […] A situation that caused a cat-and-mouse game between bloggers and the censor through the successive creation of new sub-domains, which soon subsequently, are added the the block list.
     
  3. IP Filtering: With the step above, the total blockage of the IP address of the site in question, whether or not the subdomain is used; this is the case of youtube.com, dailymotion.com and many others.
     
  4. Keyword Filtering: Finally, we practice, for the most recalcitrant, a radical blocking through both, DNS and Keyword Filtering that block access to any URL path containing a specific keyword. This is the case with Tunisnews.net or Nawaat.org. With the latter procedure, any URL containing the string Nawaat, regardless of the domain, is systematically blocked. With this technique, the censors are trying to block every scrap of information on the keyword level that could appear on the screen of Tunisian Internet users. The Keyword Filtering when applied for example on the Nawaat string in any URLs results in a 404 page. Which practically means that @nawaat Twitter account is automatically blocked, as is the Nawaat Facebook account and all Google cache and search result pages that contain nawaat in their URL paths. […] In addition, the keyword in the URL blocks any image related to Nawaat, including those hosted on Google's image search servers. Similarly, the string Tunisnews produces the same effects. Note that Keyword Filtering can be applied to block any content containing that specific string on any domain or subdomain.
 Blocking video sharing at WAT.tv

4th April 2010. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

The Tunisian regime has blocked access to WAT.TV, a social networking and media-sharing website, which is believed to be the 3rd video broadcaster on the Internet in France.

This is also the third video-sharing website to be blocked in The country. First they blocked Dailymotion on September 3rd, 2007, then it was the turn of Youtube to be banned from the country Internet on November 2nd, 2007.

 Blocking individual twitter pages

6th January 2010. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Over the past few weeks, reports have trickled in to Herdict and via Twitter, alerting us of the filtering of individual Twitter pages in Tunisia and Bahrain (as well as, possibly, China).

In Tunisia, the accounts of exiled activist Sami Ben Gharbia (@ifikra), engineer @Ma7moud, and popular independent news source Nawaat (@nawaat) have been confirmed inaccessible.

 Fatma Arabicca blogger arrested

8th November 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Free FatmaTunisian blogger and college Theatre professor, Fatma Riahi, known online as Arabicca, was summoned to appear before the Criminal Brigade of Gorjani (Tunis), where she was questioned about her online activities.

Fatma was released the same day around 10 pm then summoned again the next day when three Security officers escorted her to her house to conduct a search for evidence that she may be hiding behind the pen-name of the famous Tunisian cartoonist blogger Blog de Z. They also confiscated her PC.

Since then, Arabicca has not been released and has been denied to meet her lawyer. Arabicca is being detained in Gorjani Police Station and could face criminal libel charge that potentially carries a prison term to up to three years in prison.

Fatma was blogging at Fatma Arabicca. A blog that she deleted three days before the arrest.

A Free Arabicca campaign blog has been launched by fellow Tunisian bloggers in support for Fatma, as well as a facebook page.

 News Website Blocked over Election Results

29th October 2009. See article from monstersandcritics.com

Al-Jzeera logoTunisia blocked access to the website of regional satellite news channel al-Jazeera after the results of the presidential election were announced, a rights group said.

The claim followed the announcement that Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who has been in power for 27 years, had won a new term with 89.62% of the vote.

The Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said Tunisia's ban on the website showed that Ben Ali had won, and democracy had lost in the elections.

This is a blow to citizens right to access true and accurate information,' the group said. It makes Tunisians easy prey for the official Tunisian media, which is known to lack independence and diversity of opinions.

 Zig Zag blog blocked

18th May 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Tunisia flagAfter a short hiatus, the dreaded Ammar 404 has once again attacked the Tunisian blogosphere.

Ammar is the nickname given by Tunisian bloggers to the censorship machine plaguing their access to the Internet and his victim this time is Zig Zag blog by 3amrouch.

It seem that the blog has been censored for republishing screen shots of a Canadian newspaper which unveils a real estate transaction in which the Tunisian President's son-in-law Mohamed Sakhr El Matri bought a villa in Canada for a huge amount of money - information which the Tunisian Government wants to hide from its people.

  Tunisian hunger strikers page blocked

1st April 2009. Based on article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

hunger strikersTunisian authorities have blocked access to the Matroudine website dedicated to provide information and support for the five students and activists from the Tunisian General Student Union (UGET) who went on hunger strike to protest their arbitrary exclusion from Tunisian universities and deprivation of their right to education because of their activism within the UGET.

The five young UGET unionists, namely Ali bouzouzeya, Taoufik Louati, Aymen Jaabiri, Mohamed Boualleg, and Mohamed Soudani, have been on hunger strike since February 11th, 2009. After more than 48 days of hunger strike their health condition has greatly worsened. However, Tunisian authorities continue not to react.

 

Turkey   Playboy Blocked

11th September 2010. See article from bianet.org

Playboy logoTurkey's Telecommunication Communication Presidency (TI.B) has used its executive authority to ban access to the www.playboy.com website. Access to the site was suspended without a related court decision.

The website of the Playboy magazine was banned according to Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication. TI.B considers investigation as sufficient

  MySpace unblocked

18th October 2009. See article from religiousintelligence.co.uk

MySpace logoReporters Without Borders has welcomed the unblocking of the social-networking website MySpace and the video-sharing website Akilli.tv on October 6 after their representatives resolved disputes with the Turkish Record Industry Association. Turkey reopens social networking websites

Two other websites that refuse to comply with the association's demands, Lastfm.com.tr and YouTube, continue to be blocked.

  MySpace blocked

25th September 2009. See article from rsf.org

MySpace logoThe social networking website MySpace has been blocked in Turkey since 19 September over a copyright dispute. Anyone trying to visit the site sees a message saying access has been blocked by order 2009/45, issued on 26 June by the prosecutor of the Istanbul district of Beyoglu. Two other sites, Lastfm.com.tr and Akilli.tv, have been blocked by the same order.

Copyright is often used as grounds for censoring the Internet, Reporters Without Borders said. But blocking websites is a disproportionate sanction that violates online free expression. Withdrawing the content that violates copyright would suffice. Censorship is a common reflex in Turkey and we condemn it strongly.

  Thousands more websites blocked in Turkey

4th July 2009. See article from bianet.org

Turkey flagA court in Denizli has banned access to GoogleSites, which contains thousands of sites. The reason for the ban is not known.

GoogleSites allows users to create their own websites, and there are thus thousands of sites available.

Now the 2nd Criminal Court of Peace in Denizli, western Turkey, has banned access to GoogleSites.

The Alternative Informatics Association (Alternatif Bilisim) has criticised the closure, calling for Internet users to protest to the Telecommunications Department by fax, email and telephone and for those who have sites on GoogleSites to protest, too.

The association says that between 23 November 2007 and 11 May 2009, access to 2,601 web sites was banned. Youtube, for instance, has been closed to users in Turkey since 5 May 2008. Other sites used by millions of people, such as wordpress.com, geocities.com, myspace.com, dailymotion.com and alibaba.com have also been banned.

  1600 websites blocked in Turkey

5th February 2009. See article from todayszaman.com

Turkey flagTurkey's Telecommunications Directorate has blocked 1,591 Web sites since last year under the law against cyber crime, which includes a wide range of offenses. Nearly half of the site-blocking rulings were issued due to the content involving the sexual exploitation of children online.

This was followed by obscenity as the main reason for the closure of 539 sites. Other reasons included online prostitution (13), facilitating narcotics acquisition (3), encouraging suicidal behavior (1), illegal gambling sites (85), providing a physical location and the opportunity for gambling (88) and other reasons (165). Crimes against the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatrk were the reason 52 Web sites were blocked.

 

UAE

  localnewsuae.com Blocked

30th November 2010. See article from indexoncensorship.org

UAE flagThe Emirates Local News website localnewsuae.com, which translates and posts all news about the UAE from around the world, has been blocked within the UAE.

The government have offered no reason for the decision. Visitors to the site will find only an announcement that the site has been banned as per the regulations of the Internet access department in the UAE.

  Flickr Unblocked

1st October 2010. See article from news.idg.no

flickr logoYahoo!, owner of Flickr.com, has confirmed that U.A.E. authorities have agreed to unblock most of the photo-sharing web site except Flickr Groups.

In a statement, Ahmed Nassef, vice president and managing director of Yahoo! Middle East said: We are continuing to work with the authorities in the UAE to find a resolution that would lead to the unblocking of the Groups category.

Flickr.com has been blocked since 2005 by the two telecommunications companies in the country, du and Etisalat, on the instructions of the TRA, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

  Satellite Card Sharing Blocked

16th July 2010. See article from zawya.com

Dubai Federal authorities have unplugged television viewers who descramble pay TV channels by sharing pay TV encryption codes from the internet.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) claims it is now the first country in the world to block websites that provide black market pay TV encryption data to viewers who use the information to bypass scrambled satellite and cable signals.

Mohammad Al Ganem, Director-General of the TRA, said that the UAE gives the utmost importance to intellectual property to ensure the most advantageous economic environment through supporting owners of property rights. This step will protect consumers against this type of fraud and it will limit infringement of intellectual property rights and violation of federal laws. Similar to pay TV signal theft in other countries, the TRA said that it found scrambled television channels were illegally decrypted and distributed over the internet using card sharing, a method through which a satellite receiver obtains decryption data continuously from an active card, while being connected to the internet.

  Googling Fine Words...But...

12th June 2009. See article from business.maktoob.com

Google logoGoogle will not censor Middle East websites, the company’s regional boss told Maktoob Business, arguing that it is not its job to do so.

We do not censor sites and we have no plans to do so, said Husni Khuffash, manager of Google's operations for the UAE and neighbouring countries.

UAE authorities had reportedly asked Google to ban about 500 pornographic and anti-religious terms from YouTube, owned by Google, something that both the Dubai Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim and Khuffash have denied.

Khuffash said he had met with Dubai Police, but it was a meet and greet situation rather than a discussion of specific issues.

The US company has so far managed to side step direct censorship in the Middle East, but admitted that if it was asked directly by a regional government to remove content, it would do so.

  Searching for Naughty Words

16th May 2009. See article from ameinfo.com

The Dubai Police Chief said he is still pursuing a plan to censor 500 search terms deemed offensive in a bid to block access to certain internet sites in the UAE.

Although no progress is made yet, we will pursue the issue over the next two weeks, he was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.

  Flickr banned and concerns about YouTube

17th March 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Bloggers in the UAE are worried that YouTube may be banned in the Emirates, after access to photography hosting site Flickr has been totally blocked.

According to Press reports, YouTube is ranked among the top 10 most popular sites in the UAE and news about its possible censorship has sparked debate in the blogosphere.

The website Flickr.com breaches the prohibited content category of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority's Internet Access Management policy regarding sexual nudity, the censor said in a statement.

Due to technical difficulties, telecoms operator du was not able to block the site until last week, it said: Flickr.com as a site does not have the technical facility of blocking prohibited contents, and it cannot be partially blocked; such facility is available on YouTube, Facebook and other similar sites.

  Cartoon Censors

15th March 2009. See article from gulfnews.com

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) explained their part ban imposed on YouTube content in an official statement.

The content on the popular video sharing website came under the scanner when a cartoon, hurting religious and nationalistic sentiments uploaded on the site, resulted in heated public debate across the country.

Earlier in February, the TRA banned access to the cartoon clip, citing breach of prohibited content categories stipulated by them.

Speaking to Gulf News, an official said: It happens that some things can escape the proxy, especially clips with tags like a cartoon which in normal cases do not need to be blocked. But when the authority receives comments or feedback on a particular case, necessary action is taken promptly. In such cases, we ask the ISPs to manually block the contentd.

The prohibited content categories laid out by the TRA include gambling, pornography, content which is offensive to religions and terrorism related content.

Lieutenant-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police called for YouTube to be banned a few days ago at a public function. However, the TRA clarified no official request had come to them yet regarding the total blocking of the site.

The cartoon in question shows two young Muslim characters who are constantly coerced by elders to become suicide bombers. It has Hebrew and English subtitles.

 

Uganda   Social Networking

30th April 2009. See article from newsday.co.zw

Uganda flagThe Ugandan government, facing social unrest over high food and fuel prices, will order its ISPs to block Twitter and Facebook. It's the latest move in controlling social media to control a popular social movement.

According to an official from the government of Uganda Twitter and Facebook are being used to foment public protests, which the opposition has dubbed walk to work, and it's had enough. If there's more unrest, it will exercise its authority by writing to the nation's ISPs to force them to block access to these social networks and thus prevent more unrest. The protests are an expression of the public's unhappiness at soaring prices of essentials like food and fuel, and the government has used strong-arm tactics from the police and army to try to suppress them.

Speaking to Reuters, Godfrey Mutabazi, the executive director of the Ugandan Communications Commission, noted that the blame lies squarely in the laps of Twitter and Facebook as a vehicle for allowing mass law-breaking. If someone is telling people to go and cause mass violence and kill people...I can assure you we'll not hesitate to intervene and shut down these platforms. Mutabazi remarked that the government is very alert and is monitoring these media--if people start promoting dangerous ideas, we'll act like every country would do.

 

USA
Minnesota tells ISP to block 200 gambling websites

Minnesota state sealThe state of Minnesota has decided to try its hand at Internet censorship. Officials from the Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division have commanded Internet service providers to block almost 200 online gambling sites.

To reconcile its action with actual law and statutes, the Division is citing the federal Wire Act of 1961 as the basis for attempting to prevent residents from accessing online casinos. However, federal courts have ruled that the Wire Act pertains only to sports betting, which leaves Minnesota in an uncomfortable legal position.

Officials notified Comcast Cable, AT&T, Charter Communications, and eight other sources of Internet connections to respond within the next two to three weeks. ISP spokesmen had no immediate comment.

 

Uzbekistan
UzbekiWiki Censor

UzbekistanUzbekistan has blocked access to Wikipedia in its language, regional media has reported.

Users trying to access Wikipedia in Uzbek from Uzbekistan have been redirected to Msn.com for the past few weeks, The blocking does not include Wikipedia in other languages.

Uzbekistan briefly blocked the entire Wikipedia twice before, in 2007 and 2008.

 

Venezue;a

Blogger Blocked

Venezuela flagDuring all the month of August, Venezuelan bloggers have been complaining about difficulties to access Blogger.com services.

A thread was opened in Google support forums, according to which, traceroutes made by users are giving different kind of responses, being the most frequent one Destination host unreachable.

According to users, the problems are intermittent and are preventing them from entering their dashboards and their own blogs. Also, they have said that it's possible to access Blogger using the alternative Google's DNS, when the problem presents.

 

Vietnam   Vietnam blocks BBC services

26th June 2010. Based on article from speroforum.com

BBC logoInternet censorship is getting tighter in Vietnam. In recent days, student and young people have complained that local authorities have partially or wholly blocked access to sites like Facebook, the BBC Vietnamese service and Vietnamese media based abroad.

Many websites writing about democracy, freedom, justice and peace cannot be opened, Hanoi Catholics told AsiaNews.

  Vietnam blocks Facebook

22nd November 2009. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Vietnam flagMany of Vietnam's one million users have been reporting problems accessing Facebook, which recently launched a Vietnamese-language version, for days.

And workers at many web firms say the government ordered them to block it.

The freedom of expression afforded by the internet has certainly preoccupied the authorities in recent months. They have arrested several bloggers and online journalists, and ordered people to restrict their online writing to personal concerns.

  Popular Search and News portal to be shut down by police

14th February 2009. See article from earthtimes.org

Vietnamese police plan to soon shut down a popular website run by a Vietnamese-American entrepreneur for violating rules on copyright and political content, a police official said.

The search portal, timnhanh.com, belongs to VON, a company owned by Paul Nguyen Hung.

The newspaper Hanoi Security quoted police sources Wednesday as saying the website had hosted pornography as well as "misleading information" about the Vietnamese Communist Party and government policies.

Vietnamese media reported Wednesday that timnhanh.com had instead become an electronic news portal and had reprinted information from other news sources in violation of copyright laws and had published unauthorized political content.

Under Vietnam's Communist system, all domestic news organizations must be affiliated with the government.

 

Zimbabwe   Blog blocked in Zimbabwe

11th April 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Zimbabwe flagOn March 20, 2009 the Zimbabwean blog, Peace, love & happiness unto the whole world, was blocked.

The author of the blog, Eusebia, wrote a short post about it saying, I have not idea why my blog is being blocked…I refuse to be censored or cowered into silence by anyone because I know my human right of freedom of expression…

 

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