The Huffington Post Arabic language edition website has been blocked by the UAE authorities as the government tightens its control over the dissemination of information.
This ban in the UAE constitutes only the latest act of censorship concerning the Huffington Post in the Gulf region. Only a few days ago, access to the website was blocked in Saudi Arabia. No explanation for the ban has yet been given by UAE officials.
The Huffington Post is yet to make a statement on the matter.
The UAE’s censorship of the Huffington Post comes amidst a much wider crackdown by the authorities concerning online activity in the Emirati state. In January last year, the Qatari based online news publication, the New Arab, was banned in the UAE after authorities accused it of having links with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that’s outlawed in the United Arab Emirates.
UAE authorities have also stepped up monitoring and surveillance techniques concerning the online activities of internet users within its borders. In 2012, the UAE government instituted the vague “cybercrime law” which has allowed the authorities to more effectively control and sanction online activity around social media sites.
Critics have long maintained that the cybercrime law heavily contravenes rights around freedom of expression and assembly in the UAE, and that it is merely a technique used by authorities to silence dissent. In 2016 alone, around 300 people were detained for voicing opinions on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.