Dubai unplugged

 A couple of interesting net censorship items came up over the past few days all related to Dubai.

First Popbitch gave a heads up that YouTube was allegedly being blocked because a documentary about Armenian women being trafficked to fuel the Emirate’s sex industry has been hosted on the site.

(This is likely to be the Armenian made Desert Nights documentary.)

To be honest with you the documentary holds no real surprises, it’s just pretty much the same thing as what happens in the UK with Albanian women trafficked by pimps from their own country.

Bizarrely the documentary goes on to sugar the bitter pill of its message with a tourist information section at the end talking about the recent history of the UAE, the success of the Dubai economic free zone and the status of Dubai as one of the world’s safest cities for travelers.

However it is understandable that the country would be sensitive to the criticism leveled at it, in the light of scrutiny following the recent bid by a Dubai-based business DP World to take over running some US ports as part of its acquisition of P&O.

Secondly Dubai was held up as an example of what happens when net neutrality is done away with by VNU-published blog SiliconValleySleuth. This is a bit unfair because many other Arab telecoms monopolies like Batel are just as bad, as do all the European mobile carriers providing EDGE or UMTS services. The lack of net neutrality gives out the wrong messages about the country’s desire to be seen as a global technology hub.

Both provide Dubai with a couple of potential reputation management challenges, Desert Nights, would have gone pretty much unnoticed but for the alleged YouTube ban which sounds like a case of less is more.

One Reply to “Dubai unplugged”

  1. RE “a bit unfair”: do EDGE and UMTS providers or the other Arab telcos advertise their services as “free zones”?

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