18 March, 2008

7days coverage of SD block

7days has some coverage of the secretdubai block including some choice quotes from the TRA...

"Secret Dubai Diary, one of the emirate's most popular blogs, has been shut down in a move that has upset the many thousands of its readers. The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has decided to block secretdubai.blogspot.com, calling it, “a web site for slander, defamation and vilification against Dubai”.


The same site was blocked in 2005 for similar reasons. However, since laws to block web sites were not concrete then, the site was eventually unblocked. This time, the TRA says the content was more offensive.

TRA spokesman Rasheed Joumblatt told 7DAYS: “Many people contacted the TRA complaining about the offensive language and the lies that had been spread on the site, 'mutilating' their beautiful city and twisting facts to dishonour the development and progress of the city…

“The TRA browsed the web site and found that it is a site for slander, defamation and vilification against the city of Dubai… and UAE individuals and personalities.”

more here

31 comments:

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Rasheed Joumblatt???????????????!

hmmmmm, no comment!

Anonymous said...

Heres something Im sure they'd love to block.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_bSe3vkJPs

secretdubai said...

Poor TRA. Despite supposedly being the UAE's premier regulatory body, they haven't got the first clue when it comes to an understanding of legal terms.

Someone might want to explain to Rasheed Joumblatt that "slander" is a spoken offence, and "defamation" is a written/published offence. So my blog (or any website) would be potentially guilty of defamation, not slander, and certainly not both.

Given that not a single individual has ever contacted me to remove any potential libel whatsoever, whether from the government or a private individual, I rather think that Mr Joumblatt is talking out of the back of his dishdash.

Anyway don't forget the mirror is still working, and new posts from now will have links to the still accessible Blogger comments page for each post (which also allows you to see the post as well - see the "Show Original Post" link on this page for an example).

Anonymous said...

If you really want to cause a ruckus, post your story on digg and forward it onto some websites and forums. The internet has sympathy for these types of things.

Tim Newman said...

If the UAE is feeling threatened by the content of an individual blog who does nothing more than quote from UAE newspapers and offer opinions, then the UAE is piss-weak indeed.

Never have I read such pathetic snivelling as this:

Many people contacted the TRA complaining about the offensive language and the lies that had been spread on the site, 'mutilating' their beautiful city and twisting facts to dishonour the development and progress of the city.

For ****'s sake man, grow a pair!!

Proud Emirati said...

why do people insist that SD blog is blocked?

Anonymous said...

b/c if you are in a du/freezone area, ALL blogspot blogs are blocked.

Proud Emirati said...

^^ interesting, so what is the message u get? Similar to the one in Etisalat areas?

Anonymous said...

SD, though you're right about slander, you're confusing defamation and libel.

Defamation includes both slander (spoken) and libel (written, broadcast, published).

That, however, is by the UK legal definition (and those legal systems based on it). I suspect what Mr Joumblatt is talking about is an Arabic term translated into an English approximation.

the real nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the real nick said...

Here's my tuppence worth':

Secretdubai blocked again

secretdubai said...

Oops anon -yes that would be the one.

That said given the endless phone taps they probably could get me for slander, especially those moments we all know stuck in traffic when it is hard to feel great love for the sandlands as you ring a friend explaining you'll be 40 minutes late. Again. Because people are rubbernecking another crash. Again.

alexander said...

Enjoy the many thousands of readers that will flock to the blog, SD.

Enjoy the international media coverage that is going to flay the UAE for this move.

I'm still with Voltaire - and so I still disagree strongly with blocking your blog and blogs/social sites in general.

I do wish that there had been some thought put into this, I really do. But now the die is cast... Let's see what develops.

But it ain't gonna be pretty...

secretdubai said...

Oh I hardly think the international media is going to notice, let alone care. Given the other sites that the UAE blocks - including the entire .il TDL - my blog is very small beer.

As for "thousands of readers" - they didn't flock to me with the previous blog, maybe a hundred or so more people noticed it, and they're certainly not flocking there now. You can click on my stats, they should be public. They're down around 400-600 since the block.

I'm not sure how statcounters handle proxy IP addresses though, so it could be even more, if each of the "lost" UAE visitors is several people with the same IP address.

Either way it is frustrating for people with the proxy, just as they are frustrated on a daily basis trying to access many legitimate sites such as Flickr.

Voltaire's Ghost said...

Arrgh! Alex, you need slapping into the enlightenment.

"I'm with Voltaire"... but haven't you criticised Secret for publishing under a pen-name?

You do know that Voltaire was a pen-name, used because the author was looking to mock the conventions of his era?

I'm with JRR Tolkien, but I wish people wouldn't write about elves.

Anonymous said...

proud emarati are you the guy from the facebook group?

Editor said...

Maybe the authorities are right for blocking the website.......

Reading: "...I rather think that Mr Joumblatt is talking out of the back of his dishdash..."
& remembering that I personally have been called a "moron" here by the same author, I tend to agree with Mr. Rasheed...

Proud Emirati said...

no am not anony

Anonymous said...

you sure?

alexander said...

VG. How very helpful of you. I can only presume you're perfectly aware of Voltaire's comment to 'l'abbé' and just being contentious because you're an argumentative little ghost...

SD. Let's see. I'm not trying to paint you important, but there's an increasing focus on these issues from global commentators and I think this blocking business won't play well.

Voltaire's Ghost said...

I’m being contentious because you’ve chosen two lines from a career that included thousands of letters, plays and poems attacking social and religious dogma enabled by the careful deployment of a pen-name to protect the author. (This is a writer who suffered imprisonment and exile and whose work is still banned in the Arab world three centuries after his death.)

You’re using these lines as part of your “ho, hum, more in sorry than anger” critique of Secret Dubai, who’s a lot closer in sprit to Voltaire than the Pooterish image that you’re conjuring – ignoring the massive irony of quoting a pseudonymous satirist, who specialized in massive irony, as part of your moaning about a pseudonymous social satirist.

(The line is also misattributed - Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote the “defend to the death your right…” epigram that you’re citing).

Really, pick another writer.

Sorry to be a dick about it - I'm sure you're using it as a throwaway line - but it's driving me crazy.

("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.")

alexander said...

But you are being a dick about it.

And I am actually quoting Voltaire's original line.

Do lighten up, wee ghost...

jay said...

hmm it appears the mirror site has been blocked as well.

Voltaire's Ghost said...

Fine, continue to attempt to add intellectual weight to your paper-thin commitment to media freedom by quoting writers you've never read.

(Evelyn Beatrice Hall was the biographer who coined the 'original line' - Voltaire never wrote or said it, it just continues to be misattributed to him).

Probably, as I admitted and you leapt on, being a dick about this, but if the banning of a book or a blog show us anything, it's that words are important.

secretdubai said...

If the mirror is blocked, try here

I'll start adding the blogger comment links to posts on that from now on.

Anonymous said...

glad its blocked, cause it did contain alot of rubbish.

Jess said...

You can also still read the mirror if you have an LJ account and have the mirror on your friends page.

alexander said...

You’re an impressively passionate ghost, but I think you’re a fake one. You claim to be the standard holder of a great man’s views, but you are by no means in step with those views as he himself expressed them.

You see, the thing that you say annoys you most about me is that I keep misquoting Voltaire and yet I haven’t directly quoted him once. I have said I am with Voltaire in the matter of blocking SD’s blog and I am, indeed. Yes, Beatrice Hall was summarising Voltaire’s attitude, and specifically not quoting him, when she wrote the powerful words “I disagree with what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write” and you are perfectly correct to nail this as a misattributed quotation. However, other sources have referred to letters in which Voltaire did use this line, in fact the context I referred to: but the jury would appear still to be out on whether the letter contained the quotation.
Whether he did or did not use the words, the fact of the matter is that this statement is an accurate reflection of Voltaire’s attitude at the time and is perfectly consistent with his views. And so I am still with Voltaire – in this as in many other aspects of personal freedom and the role of the state. And, beware, not all of his views are as comfortable to the modern liberal mind.

Voltaire was, indeed a nom de plume – but one coined in the Bastille: everyone in authority knew who Voltaire was, because he stood up for his beliefs in the face of the repressions his libertarian views invited. Critically, and damning to your strange side argument, he didn’t hide behind a nom de plume. As you, tellingly, have in your anonymous discourse with someone who has chosen to write publicly in his own name. So let’s just nail that argument, too.
You assume I haven’t read him. You assert my commitment to media freedom is paper-thin, despite having access to a considerable volume of my views on the matter – made, once again, publicly and in my own name. What a deliciously arrogant spirit!

And I didn’t 'leap' on you being a dick about it. I am far too old and fat to go around leaping on things.

I’m going to bumble amiably off now and fill my corner of the Internet with amused ramblings. I’ll leave you to tilt at your windmills. And, before you start, I don’t give a damn about Cervantes’ contribution to the world and my belittlement of his huge talent by reducing it all to a windmill.

Voltaire's ghost said...

You just looked Voltaire up on Wikipedia, Alex. That's why you've gone from "I'm quoting the original line" to "I'm with him in spirit, you delicious fool", in the space of a few posts. It's also why you don't type, "Yes, I have read him, actually" in your very long response.

It's to your professional and advertorial benefit to have your name in print - you're in an industry that sees the positive in getting your name in print, provided you don't offend anyone.

But it's also why you can't back down, even when you're caught misquoting a long-dead writer.

Ultimately, I don't mind that you don't walk around with a copy of the portable Voltaire - I'm assuming you're not 18 any more, and I doubt you're looking for a fight with Gottfried Leibniz.

However, perhaps a recognition of why people use fake names online might not go amiss, next time you choose to pontificate. Also, "international media coverage"? I see no ships...

secretdubai said...

Another option

Anonymous said...

i live in dubai in an etisalat zone and i have access to secret dubai. the TRA are a stupid "wunch of bankers". they are yet to do anything good for the consumers.

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