The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced today , blocking Emirates Local News site , http://localnewsuae.com/ , which tracks , translates and posts all news on UAE worldwide 10 days prior to marking its first year of operation . UAE government declared no reason for the blocking decision.
On 21/11/2010, site visitors were surprised to find their popular site gone and a message in Arabic and English reading “ Access to this site is currently not permitted. The site is classified as banned as per the regulations of Internet access department in UAE”. There was no further clarification for the blocking the site.
The Arabic Network said that blocking the site was due to posting news about UAE which the government would prefer to conceal from UAE citizens, so they decided to block the site inside UAE which is a straight forward violation to the citizens’ right to information access and circulation.
Despite the technological development and the growing software market in UAE, blocking policy remains a spot on UAE human rights’ record as it is an attempt to silence critical voices and the UAE government has a long record and a steady trend in blocking Internet sites last of which was alHewar alEmarati forum which was blocked early this year.
The Arabic Network said, “ In addition to steady blocking of Internet sites that started in UAE many years ago, freedom of expression is also steadily retreating. We monitor restrictions on using Blackberry and banning some printed papers like alSharq alAwsat in October 2010”.
The Arabic Network expresses deep regret at the significant retreat in internet use and freedom of expression in UAE and urges the UAE government to lift the blocking on Emirates Local News site and not to copy Arab neighboring countries which have turned be the worst spots oppressive of freedom of expression on earth”.
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