Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Internet Censorship in the Middle East

Lebanon's Daily Star analyzes the motivation for network control and censorship in the Middle East. The author provides three motivations:

  1. The degree of Internet proliferation;
  2. Press freedom and democracy; and,
  3. Culture
The report provides statistics concerning how each of these elements affects censorship in various countries. For example:
"Obviously, to the extent that internet usage in a given country is low due to economic or technological reasons or because of the absence of the requisite human resources, there is no need to regulate the internet through legislation because there is no internet. Thus Yemen had only 1.4 percent internet penetration in 2008, followed by Libya (4.2), Sudan (8.7) and Algeria (10.4). Conversely, the Middle East countries with the most internet legislation and regulation are also the leaders in internet penetration: Israel (52 percent), the UAE (49.8), Turkey (36.9), Iran (34.9), Kuwait (34.7), Tunisia (27), Saudi Arabia (22) and Egypt (12.9 percent)."

For many Arab states, internet suffocation is the norm

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