is blocked in Yemen

By: Helmi Noman on 24 March 2008

Several days ago, Internet users in Yemen reported that they could not access, a major blog hosting service in the Middle East and North Africa. ONI technical investigation verified that the service has been blocked by Yemennet, Yemen’s government-run ISP. Access is blocked to the entire domain, effectively to every blog hosted by the service. Interestingly, users who attempt to access the site receive a network error message instead of the standard blockpage, which is served when users attempt to access sexual content.

This significant blocking is expected to hinder Internet users in Yemen from blogging and reading blogs because is home of one of the largest blogging communities in the Middle East and North Africa. Yemen itself has witnessed an increase in the number of local bloggers and blog readers in the past two years. According to a local study, (Arabic) the number of Yemeni blogs reached 2056 by the end of 2007, despite a highly restrictive media environment.

The number of Web sites blocked in Yemen has increased in the past few months to include political opposition as well as independent Web sites and blogs. In response to this increase in Web filtering,, a news aggregation site that was blocked in January, organized a campaign to resist filtering and developed tools for Internet users in Yemen to use to circumvent technical censorship measures.