Dubai police chief wages war on youtube

Commander-in-Chief of Dubai police Lt General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim called (full article in Arabic , English summary) this week for the blocking of the social networking Web site youtube because, he said, the site contains religiously inappropriate content which will create a generation full of religious hatred. He also said the site contains indecent material that influences the young people towards delinquency. Mr. Dhahi made this call while addressing the general assembly of the Juveniles Education and Care Association in Dubai. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association.

Mr. Dhahi said the association which will lead the campaign will contact the UAE Internet Service Provider Etisalat in this regard.

When asked by the newspaper if this campaign contradicts the individual's right to access to information he said "disseminating pornography and offensive content is not freedom." "The content offered to [users in] the Arab and Muslim countries should be different from that offered to [users in] the West because they have different cultures." Content should be filtered centrally because it is very difficult for families to monitor Internet use at home, he added.

UAE Internet users have started to debate this campaign in online forums. (examples here and here) (Arabic) While some supported the call, others expressed concern, especially because the ISPs already block youtube's content which requires users to verify that they are 18 or older.

Mr. Dhahi's campaign comes in less than two weeks after the UAE blocked access to the Web site Ahmed and Salim, the Israeli Web site which posted video episodes considered offensive to Arabs and Muslims. Full story