Stuck behind the Qtel Proxy? Bypass blocked sites
Is there such thing democratic Internet censorship?
Inside Qatar, a monarchy located inside the Middle East, a location peaks out of the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula into the Persian Gulf named a Telecom company called Qtel. Qtel is short for Qatar Telecom and is the exclusive telecommunications provider in Qatar. It is one of the largest public companies in Qatar with about 2,000 employees.
Their mission statement is to be among the top twenty telecommunications companies in the world by 2020. They claim to practice democratic Internet censorship! Qtel censors the Internet by suppressing freedom of speech and deleting communicative materials they deem harmful, sensitive, subjective or inconvenient to the government. Qtel goal is to censor online pornography, political criticism of Gulf leaders and anti-Islamic sites. These sites are blocked for private and home users but do not affect businesses like Internet cafes. One issue is that young Qataris have been accused of frequenting Internet cafes to surf porn.
Qtel does not allow residents to surf the Internet without restrictions. They do not often block individual blogs sites, tweets and forum discussions. However, they do block gay and lesbian content, sexual health resources, dating and escort services, and privacy tools. Chat sites are also being blocked because they serve as a threat to Qtel’s monopoly of telephone services. Their goal is to censor sites that degrade their government and are Anti-Islamic.
Is this democratic censorship? Democracy includes two basic principles of equality and freedom. Where is the freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of political expression? These rights are essential so that citizens are fully informed about their country’s current affairs in their country and the world.
The right to freedom of speech is a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and is recognized in International Human Right Law. Consisting of International Treaties & Customary International law within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR commits its parties to respect the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Furthermore, freedom of speech is recognized in European, inter-American and African regional human rights law.
Who really has the right to censor the Internet? Is it the parents responsibily to censor what their children are viewing or is it the goverment’s responsibility? Who has the right to censor the world news or your religious views? Who has the right to determine what you need access to on the Internet? Is this not democratic censorship? This is a breach of privacy. Qtel does not have the right to block a surfers freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to life.
In conclusion, Qtel censors are not only blocking websites for their country, they are blocking websites hosted outside the country.
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