Country blocking

Another country reportedly blocks Wikipedia

Another instance of Wikipedia users in Asia having their access to the site blocked surfaced in the news last week. This time around, the country reportedly doing the blocking was Saudi Arabia.

Arab News, an English-language news site focused on the Middle East, reported that access to Wikipedia in Saudi Arabia was cut off last week. Rumors of similar blocks by Saudi internet administrators have circulated before; the article indicated that Wikipedia has been blocked and unblocked several times in recent weeks.

According to the story, Saudi Arabia effectively has only one Internet service provider, except for satellite users who are unaffected by the blocks. Its policy is to block sites that are "in violation of Islamic tradition or national regulations". Blocking is done at the direction of the Saudi government, which sometimes directly requests the blocking of a particular site. The report did mention that the organization is going through a restructuring process, and mistakes are sometimes made in blocking.

If in fact Saudi officials are blocking Wikipedia due to religious concerns, this probably is not the first such case. Pakistan reportedly briefly blocked access to Wikipedia at the peak of the controversy over cartoon depictions of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. Wikipedia nevertheless remains popular in Pakistan, ranking #14 among websites in traffic there according to Alexa's country breakdowns. [1] It no longer ranks in the top 100 in Saudi Arabia after making a brief appearance on that list earlier. [2]

The country best known for blocking particular web content remains the People's Republic of China, which has more or less steadily blocked Wikipedia since last October. In India, reports of extensive blocking of blogs surfaced last week, amid speculation that this was in reaction to the recent Mumbai train bombings. The Indian government later stated that the reason was inflammatory material on a specific blog or blogs, but that some ISPs blocked the entire domains of the blog hosting services, apparently because they lacked the capability to implement more narrowly tailored blocks. No reports of Wikipedia being affected by the Indian block have appeared.

+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.
Hello, About blocking Wikipedia in Suadia Arabia, yes it's true. I work in the Arabic Wikipedia and our Saudi colleagues there mentioned this several times. I just wanted to mention that Arab News is a not trustiful resource of information. It is a tabloid newspapers depends on using slang unpolite arabic and to show scandal images. Most of their news come from their own reporter and not from the international news agencies.

Best Regards --Oxydo 08:51, 25 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Ohps, I think I made a mistake. I meant above Arab Times and not as mentioned in the article Arab News. Apologies. --Oxydo 08:53, 25 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the confirmation. I admit that there's only so much I can do to check the information, which is why the story is heavy on the "According to..." approach, but it seemed trustworthy and checked out to the extent that I was able. --Michael Snow 15:18, 25 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]


I think that there is no instance of wikipedia being blocked in India. I am sure that it would never happen in India. There is a lot of differences in the rights which citizens have in India, and in some other nearby countries who do not have a democratic set up of governments. --Bhadani 12:36, 30 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I hope it wouldn't, either. It's at least conceivable, and given the circumstances, I thought the recent events with blogs in India were worth mentioning. The story does point out the absence of reports of India blocking Wikipedia, just in case anyone gets confused. --Michael Snow 01:53, 31 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0