Saudi Arabia: "Enemy of the Internet"

March 14, 2012

On Monday March 12, 2012, Paris-based Reporters Without Boarders marked World Day Against Cyber Censorship with an updated list of the "Enemies of the Internet." The list includes the countries that restrict Internet freedom the most, including: Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and newly-added Bahrain and Belarus. Below is an excerpt from the organization's report on Saudi Arabia, to access the original please click here.

SAUDI ARABIA

In 2011, the regime did everything possible to dissuade the population from supporting the arab revolutionary movement. Its rigid opposition to the simmering unrest on the Web caused it to tighten its Internet stranglehold even more to stifle all political and social protests.

Harsh censorship

Intolerant of criticism, in the last few years the government has been enforcing harsh censorship through the use of extended filtering bolstered by repressive legislation and widespread online surveillance (see the Saudi Arabia chapter of the 2011 "Enemies of the Internet" report). 

The authorities resorted to blocking websites created in the aftermath of the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt which relay the protestors’ demands, such as Dawlaty.info and Saudireform.com. An online petition was circulated to openly call for the King to initiate political reform. Despite the censorship, it was signed by several hundred people - activists, writers and academics - and posted on Twitter, thanks to the hashtag #saudimataleb.

The authorities intensified their crackdown on forums and social networks, anticipating demonstrations held in several of the Kingdom’s cities on 11 March, redubbed the “Day of Rage.” Facebook’s “Revolutionary Nostalgia" page, which echoes the calls for reform...

 

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