Of course, he is the president’s son:
- A United Arab Emirates minister, in a rare criticism of government censorship in the Gulf, called on Saturday for unfettered access to the Internet in the UAE.
“The government should not enforce censorship on the individual,” said UAE Information and Culture Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid al-Nahayan, a son of the country’s president.
Sheikh Abdullah, who heads a ministry that censors books and other publications entering the Gulf Arab state, said the UAE’s sole Internet Service Provider (ISP) should not block access to Web sites.
“Knowledge is the right of the citizen before it is the right of the government to prevent the citizen from the means of acquiring knowledge,” he told an information and communications conference in Dubai, one of the emirates in the UAE.
Communications Minister Ahmad Humaid al-Tayer, who was also at the conference, argued that many subscribers had asked his ministry to block access to “pornographic” sites.
The ISP now blocks automatically sites deemed by the government to be socially, politically and religiously unacceptable.
The word-based search process used by the ISP sometimes unintentionally prevents access to sites containing words such as Sussex and breast, Internet users have complained.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia applies even stricter measures. It recently blocked access to sites hosting personal Web pages that industry sources said carried criticism of the kingdom and its royal family.
And we can’t have that, now can we? China has taken strong action as well as mentioned here yesterday. We need to take notice of these actions to remind ourselves how crucial is the concept of the “marketplace of ideas” to our way of life.