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Minister to question censorship of RNW site

The Dutch Foreign Ministry says it will ask the Saudi Arabian embassy for an explanation why Radio Netherlands Worldwide's websites were blocked in Saudi Arabia for a number of weeks.

In response to questions by the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Party, Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said it is not clear why all Radio Netherlands Worldwide's language sites were made inaccessible in Saudi Arabia and who was responsible for blocking the site. He did say the websites were back online by last Monday.

After questions by the Freedom Party on whether the issue was being treated in an international context, the minister said, the European Union and United Nations always raise the matter of internet freedom and censorship. So limitations on the internet by Saudi Arabia are matter for discussion.

RNW visitors in Saudi Arabia received a message saying the RNW websites were unavailable and that they could click on a link to the website of the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC).

Radio Netherlands Worldwide believes a video on the Arabic site may have been the reason behind the censorship. It showed a man of Arabic appearance beating a man believed to be Asian. The video was said to have been made in Saudi Arabia, although that cannot be verified. The article received a massive response.

RNW has no way of knowing for certain, however, that the video was the reason for the Saudi's blocking its sites.

(nc/imm)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011 Dutch government’s decided to cut funding and shift RNW in 2013 from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW’s current activities can be found at http://www.rnw.org/about-rnw