The UAE Internet provider Etisalat unexpectedly blocked the access to Pravda.Ru website to all users in the United Arab Emirates. The incident was reported by LiveJournal user Gellemar in his blog. Etisalat provided no explanations.
I have just found out that Etisalat (the largest Internet provider of the United Arab Emirates) blocked the access to Pravda.Ru website. Really strange… what was wrong with it? I doubt that there were naked women displayed on the website or any anti-Muslim articles...”
After analyzing monthly statistical reports we found out that the number of users from the United Arab Emirates began to decrease sharply in February (a lot of Russian people from our audience work and spend vocations in the UAE).
One more interesting fact is that the number of the visitors from Iran has hardly changed. It happened in spite of the fact that the control over the Internet in Iran is much tougher than that in the Emirates.
There were no notifications from the United Arab Emirates made about the violation of the law or anything else. It means that UAE providers did not have any reason to deny access to our website.
Pravda.Ru has turned to the UAE Embassy in Moscow. UAE Embassy officials told Pravda.Ru that they did not know anything about the incident. However, they added in an unofficial manner that “the access to the website might be blocked in case the website was very influential or endangered moral or national security.”
It was extremely strange to hear such a thing! Pravda.Ru does not publish articles or any other content which could be regarded as insulting to Muslims.
On June 15, LiveJournal user known for his moniker as ‘leontiev’ posted the following message on his blog: “I turned to our agents in the United Arab Emirates. They did not confirm the information. The Pravda.Ru website can be easily reached from Dubai.”
We analyzed our statistics once again. It turned out that our users from the United Arab Emirates have really started visiting our website again. However, it is still not clear what Internet provider they are using. Etisalat is the largest UAE provider but not the only one…