Du to block ‘offensive’ websites

15 Apr 2008

Unrestricted internet access for residents of Dubai’s ‘free economic zones’ and beyond is about to come to an abrupt halt. The UAE’s second national operator Du, which provides broadband to at least 20,000 customers in these zones, has issued a statement saying that it will begin blocking websites that do not adhere to the values of the United Arab Emirates. ‘We wish to inform you that from 14 April 2008 we will be blocking sites with content that do not conform to the moral, social and cultural values of the UAE,’ Du stated in an SMS text sent to its customers. The blocking decision was confirmed by Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) spokesman Rasheed Joumblatt who noted that complaints to the TRA about offensive websites were followed up and warning notices sent to both Du, and incumbent telco Etisalat, which has a monopoly on internet provision outside the free zones, and already censors the web.