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

Tobias Oelgarte tobias.oelgarte at googlemail.com
Mon Oct 15 19:58:21 UTC 2012

Am 15.10.2012 21:19, schrieb Theo10011:
> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM, Yann Forget <yannfo at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> This announcement is worrying, to say the least.
>> In other words, the Wikimedia Foundation is doing a partnership with
>> one of the most retrograde government, which is also a regular censor
>> on Internet content.
>> How could you justify that?
> Hi Yann
> It's not a partnership with the government, it's with a telecom company to
> allow its subscriber in KSA (MENA region), free and easy access to
> Wikipedia. KSA is a big part of the middle-east region, the political
> reasons aside this helps the public get better access to Wikipedia. There
> is no reason why we should not increase availability for the general public.
> I'm not sure about the stance against this either, if a government is
> trying to censor and restrict access, we should do what? not help provide
> access to their citizens, not increase availability? how would that help
> the situation? This is a way of working with the current situation and
> perhaps around it, its about providing free access to people in the region,
> which is probably the best thing to do at the time.
> Regards
> Theo
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There is always the doubt that an initiative achieves its goal. After 
reading the latest contribution of Saudi Arabia to the World 
Telecommunication Policy Forum 2013 [1], I'm really a pessimist. In 
short: They claim that it is "absolutely necessary" to tackle the 
problem of freedom of expression in the Internet.

After reading that report I'm truly pessimistic in this regard. 
Additionally i know about the deep relationship between the Saudi 
Telecom Company and Intigral. The later one is well known to provide 
efficient censorship solutions. So i have to fear that the subscribers 
will get the censored version of WP instead the real one and that such 
an cooperation actually helps to keep the people away from accessing the 
uncensored version. ("They demand a book of truth? Let's give them the 
book of our truth, so that they can be happy, ...")

[1] http://www.itu.int/md/S12-WTPF13PREP-C-0026/en


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