[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 15 14:41:23 UTC 2012

The press release that started this thread said,

>In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
>digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
>access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
>mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org.

Intigral is a censorship specialist:



The digital media company, which provides digital TV channels and
video-on-demand for the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), has a "live
censorship" room and sophisticated editing facilities to remove content
deemed offensive.


According to Wikipedia, Saudi Telecom is owned by the Saudi government.

Dan Murphy, Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor,
has commented on Wikipediocracy, quoting Jimbo's response last month to the
proposed UK "snoopers charter", saying that the Saudi government is far
more invasive than anything that was proposed for the UK:



Wales' Wikimedia Foundation has just entered into an agreement with the
telecoms provider of a government that routinely snoops on its citizens
online, in far more invasive and frightening ways than mooted for the UK.
Reading between the lines, it is collaborating with the Saudi government's
main web censor in writing code. The Saudi government makes encryption like
Wales "threatened" the UK with in September strictly illegal and brought
Blackberry to heel over this issue. The Saudi government routinely tracks
down the identities of internet users and harasses them. Any Saudi who has
something critical to write about the monarchy or Saudi history would be
very, very foolish to edit Wikipedia, particularly via Saudi Telecom. That
would be very dangerous. It is almost criminally irresponsible to encourage
young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential


Any comment?

In other news, it has also just been announced today that the UAE have
launched their own online encyclopedia, modelled on Wikipedia:


It will initially offer Arabic only, but other languages will apparently
follow in future.

Is the timing of these two announcements coincidental, or were WMF aware of
the UAE plans?


On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 8:51 AM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 6:23 AM, geni <geniice at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 14 October 2012 22:12, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Will access to Wikipedia for people in Saudi Arabia be uncensored?
>> Very unlikely.
>> > Has there been any agreement with Saudi Telecom on censorship?
>> The Saudi's don't like to discuss their censorship policies with
>> outsiders. I would assume that they take the view that it is something
>> they can manage on their own.
> These questions are really for Jay to answer, rather than for us to
> speculate on.
> What I mean is: Is there any mention of censorship in the partnership
> agreement, one way or the other? Is the text of the agreement public? Would
> it be possible to make it public, for transparency? If not, why not?

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