RNW site available again in Saudi Arabia

RNW archive

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, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) is no longer blocked for internet users in Saudi Arabia. Internal research and web statistics for the Dutch public broadcaster show that user activity was more frequent on Monday. “During the day, we registered an increase in the number of visitors from Saudi Arabia,” says deputy editor-in-chief Ardi Bouwers.

Internet users in Saudi Arabia have been unable to access Radio Netherlands Worldwide websites for the past couple of weeks. It is still unclear why the regime decided to block the site. Visitors were re-directed to a site put up by the Saudi authorities where a request for unblocking RNW’s site could be submitted.

Abuse of migrant worker
RNW thinks one possible cause for the censorship is a video published on its Arabic site which shows a migrant being beaten up in Saudi Arabia, but this has not been confirmed. The editorial board said it intends approaching the Saudi ambassador in the Netherlands for an explanation.

“We have the right to know what’s going on and why our sites were blacked out without notification,” says Ms Bouwers.

The deputy editor is relieved that the sites are accessible again. “Our reporting on Hosni Mubarak’s trial today stirred up considerable debate, fortunately including comments from Saudi Arabia.”

Stir in political circles
A number of Dutch politicians also voiced concern over the Saudis’ decision to block RNW’s website. Geert Wilders’ far-right Freedom Party and the Christian Democrats – the smaller partner in the current minority coalition government – have called on Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal to investigate the matter.

(jn/as)

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