Saudi Arabia leads the field among Arab regimes that practise internet censorship , blocking website content ranging from pornography to politics, but also in waging a highly effective online war against al-Qaida and other jihadi groups. Blocking is done according to two lists: one of "immoral" mostly pornographic sites; the other based on directions from a security committee run by the ministry of interior. Citizens are encouraged to actively report "immoral" sites for blocking, with hundreds of requests made every week. The idea is to protect society, but the so-called immoral sites are the most accessed, much more than radical or jihadi ones. After Egypt, Saudi Arabia has the highest number of bloggers in the Middle East, many of them women who use pseudonyms to avoid trouble with the authorities. In Syria , which has a secular authoritarian regime, at least websites related to opposition parties, Kurdish groups and hostile media organisations are banned.
Pornography laws by region
How to block websites in Saudi Arabia
Encrypted messaging services such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp could be blocked in Saudi Arabia, the telecommunications regulator there is reported to have warned. It is demanding a means to monitor such applications, but Saudis say that would seriously inhibit their communications. Saudi newspapers are reporting that the companies behind the applications have been given a week to respond. Ahmed Omran, a Saudi blogger who runs the Riyadh Bureau site, says that Saudi telecom companies may be tempted to go along with the request from the regulator - even though it will upset their customers - because of the loss of revenue they suffer from the free apps, which are hugely popular in the country. One Saudi source goes further - with an article in the local Arab News suggesting that it may even have been the telecom companies themselves that have been demanding that action be taken against the apps. The explosion in social media networks has had a big impact in Saudi Arabia, which has the highest take-up of Twitter in the world, reports the BBC's Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher. Outside interest in the phenomenon has largely focused on how this has allowed Saudis to express themselves in a public forum on social or political issues in an unprecedented way.
Turkey blocks Saudi and Emirati state news websites
Authorities in the allied kingdoms yesterday blocked access to at least eight Qatari-funded news websites, including those of regional broadcaster Al-Jazeera, according to Al-Jazeera , government statements , and news reports. Regional media published screen shots of error messages saying the websites were blocked by government order. President Donald Trump might not last long in power, to express support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and to advocate for better relations with Iran and Israel. Diplomatic relations between Qatar and its fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have long been strained by divergent foreign policies. Bahraini authorities likewise said they had blocked Al-Jazeera and other unspecified Qatari media outlets for what they called attempts to incite sedition, in violation of agreements between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, according to media reports.
Help us continue to fight human rights abuses. Please give now to support our work. Beirut — A Saudi court sentenced a Yemeni blogger to jail and then deportation to Yemen for a social media post supporting equal rights for all in Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch said today. Al-Bokari has 30 days to appeal. The authorities arrested al-Bokari, 29, on April 8 for posting a video on social media calling for equal rights, including for gay people.