Qtel explains web censoring

Gulf Times has a story on their front page this morning about the Qtel filters. Here's the full text:

Qtel ‘goes by local laws’ in blocking websites

QATAR’S telecom regulator ictQATAR said it does not advise Qtel on blocking Internet sites.

“We don’t get involved in that. Qtel does it in accordance with the guidelines issued by the law-enforcing authorities in Qatar,” ictQATAR sources told Gulf Times yesterday.

Responding to some customer complaints which Gulf Times had brought to ictQATAR’s notice, the sources said: “Qtel can decide which sites need to be blocked. It is fully within its prerogative.”

Asked whether the enforcement authority would shift to the telecom regulator with a second operator entering the fray in a few months, ictQATAR sources said: “We cannot comment on that.”

Some Qtel customers had complained to Gulf Times that even non-obscene or non-offending websites were being blocked by Qtel.

A customer said: “I understand Qtel blocking some obscene sites or those which are grossly in violation of the local laws. But sometimes sites that provide useful information also get blocked.”

In Qatar web censorship revolved round three main areas; pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries and anti-Islamic sites, Qtel sources said.

“We go by the guidelines issued to us by the authorities concerned and are committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards and protecting our cultural values and traditions. As long as one lives in Qatar, one must respect its laws,” they said.

Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=173496...

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