Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Reporters without borders, France
Dec. 6, 2005

Reporters Without Borders has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to stop blocking an Armenian-based news website, Hetq.am that has been censored since 8 July, apparently because it posted a report on Armenian women being trafficked into the Emirates.

"This website appears to have been blocked because it publishes investigations that displease the government", the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"This kind of administrative censorship, outside all judicial control, is utterly unacceptable. We remind you that an online news publication should enjoy the same legal protection as a newspaper, radio or television", it added.

When Internet-users in the Emirates try to get onto the Hetq.am website, they see the following message : "Sorry, the site you are trying to connect to has been blocked because of content which infringes religious, political, cultural and moral values in the United Arab Emirates".

The website's editorial managers said the Emirates' authorities were censoring the site because of an investigation that was posted at the beginning of July that exposed a prostitution ring involving girls recruited in Armenia.

It added, "The censorship of our publication proves once again that the Emirates' government does not accept freedom of expression and prefers to conceal the truth from its people".

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