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Earlier reports said the head of the Doha Media Freedom Center claimed that the Dubai Police had developed a list of 500 keywords, by which access to certain Web sites would be blocked.23 The police chief stated that the government does not attempt to censor Web sites critical to the UAE and that the 500 search terms designed to shield UAE Internet users against pornographic content were proposed by the telecommunication regulators themselves, not the Dubai Police.24 This denial came shortly after Dubai’s police chief called for the blocking of video-sharing site You Tube because, he said, the site contains religiously inappropriate content.He also said that the site contains indecent material that influences the young people towards delinquency.
It also says the draft law “provides journalists freedom from coercion to reveal sources, reflecting the government's commitment to the journalistic right to protect sources; in this particular regard, the pending law's protection exceeds that of many advanced democracies, including the United States.”15 The pending law, passed by the Federal National Council in January 2009, was rejected by the UAE Journalists Association because, according to the association’s chairman, “It has nothing to do with the concept of media; it contains 45 articles which don't provide a proper description of the media's duties and rights.
This move was in response to speculations that some Internet cafés provide unfiltered Internet connections using Virtual Private Networks.28 Also, an online surveillance team was set up by Dubai police to carry out around-the-clock checks on the Internet.
The team, known as e-police, investigated a total of 222 cases in 2008.
HRW also says that the new law contains some improvement over the draconian media law currently in effect, but will continue to punish journalists for such infractions as “disparaging” government officials or publishing “misleading” news that “harms the country's economy.”17 The Committee to Protect Journalists has also expressed concern over the draft law in a letter they sent to the President of the UAE urging him to reject the law in its current form because, if passed, “it will negatively impact the state of press freedom in the UAE.”18 The telecommunication services in the UAE are regulated by the TRA, which was established in 2003 by a Federal Law and is tasked with ensuring adequacy of telecommunications services throughout the country and establishing and implementing a regulatory and policy framework.19 The TRA is responsible for producing the Internet Access Management (IAM) policy, which outlines prohibited online content categories for ISPs.
These categories include: Internet tools for bypassing blocked content; content for learning criminal skills and illegal drugs; content containing pornography and nudity; gambling sites; sites for hacking and malicious codes; content offensive to religions, phishing Internet sites; Internet content that downloads spyware; Web sites providing unlicensed voice over Internet protocol (Vo IP) service; terrorism content; and prohibited top level domain,20 apparently a reference to the top level domain of Israel (.il), which is blocked in the UAE.