The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information today strongly denounced the blocking of Elaph electronic paper .Elaph is a political paper owned by the Saudi journalist Othman alOmair. The site was blocked without giving reasons and no official department declared its responsibility for this decision.
Internet users trying to access http://www.elaph.com were surprised on 6/12/2010 to find the message “sorry , site is unavailable” , without giving reasons announcing the department responsible for this decision.
The blocking could be due to policy of the site management which is so controversial to the Saudi government’s. Elaph was blocked once by Saudi TRA for allegedly promoting ideas contrary to Islam and defaming Islamic figures. The blocking was lifted after some time.
Despite that the Saudi government is quite resenting to Elaph’s policy , yet this resentment was not manifested before posting some WikiLeaks documents relevant to Saudi . Elaph posted an article which was headlined, “Gulf after WikiLeaks storm, Riyadh Speaks while all are silent” . The article was about the embarrasement of the Gulf countries, Saudi on top, after WikiLeaks posted a document where Saudi urges USA to attack reactors in Iran.
The Arabic Network said, “ Though the Saudi government did not declare responsibility of blocking Elaph, or the reasons of blocking , however it is a fact that Saudi and Tunisia race to top the list of Arab countries hostile to internet. It is a norm of the Saudi government not to justify blocking decisions”.
The Arabic Network added, “ Differences in opinions and views is no excuse to assault freedom of expression and the right to information access . The value of freedom of expression is in endorsing different views not only similar ones”.