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Middle East governments step up net censorship
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 27 December 2007 12:05
Middle East governments step up net censorship

More or less, with varying success
By Egan Orion: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 8:01 AM
The Inquirer

GOVERNMENTS in the Middle East are stepping up their efforts at Internet censorship and surveillance, according to the report for 2007 put out by the journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. The report says that five of the world's top thirteen Internet censors are in the Middle East, making net communications and access to web-based information and services problematic for an estimated 33.5 million regional Internet users.

"The Web makes networking much easier, for political activists as well as teenagers," said the report. "Unfortunately, this progress and use of new tools by activists is now being matched by the efforts of dictatorships to fight them. Dictators, too, have entered the world of Web 2.0."

Internet censorship efforts vary in different countries, according to a Ibab al Zalaky, managing editor of a respected Egyptian newspaper that published a comprehensive report on the subject last year.

Only four Arab countries have little or no filtering -- Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco -- but Egypt is considering a law banning some online activities and even some countries that don't have advanced filtering technology have prosecuted individuals for their blog postings on religious or political topics.... More   Comment in the Forums
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