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EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia blocks Jerusalem Post access

The Commentator can exclusively reveal that access to the Jerusalem Post website has been restricted in Saudi Arabia

by The Commentator on 21 May 2013 14:12

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A report sent to The Commentator by Saudi Arabia-based lecturer Ahmed Abdel-Raheem states that the country may have blocked access to the Jerusalem Post website in a move to curtail Israeli news sources in the country. Sources at the Jerusalem Post have confirmed that the website may have been recently made unavailable in the country.

The report from Abdel-Raheem, lecturer at the Um Al-Qura University, reveals that the he and others have been unable to access the JPost.com website for several weeks.

Abdel-Raheem has spent seven months in Saudi Arabia having moved from Egypt to teach. He told The Commentator exclusively that he was able to access the site when he first arrived in the country. His efforts to access the site have been repeated outside of the university's network, and friends' houses and on various different internet service providers in the country. All attempts to access the site have led to a page which reads, "Sorry, the requested page is unavailable".

The prompt directs the user to contact the internet.gov.sa website, the government-run The body of Communications and Information Technology which regulates the telecoms sector in the Kingdom.

Sara Miller, the Managing Editor of Jpost.com, said: “Since the start of May, there has been an almost 100-percent drop in the number of visits to jpost.com from Saudi Arabia.

"Up until April 30, we were getting hundreds of visits from Saudi Arabia every day, and now it is less than 10. There is clearly a demand for news from the Jerusalem Post, and it is a shame that the Saudi regime is proving yet again that it is determined to stifle freedom of thought and expression among its own population.”

Abdel-Raheem wrote in his blog for The Commentator, "...the Saudi Ministry of Communication might have noticed that the website of the paper is accessed by a large number of people living in Saudi Arabia and thusly decided to block it."

The news comes as reporting on Saudi's human rights violations, as well as the coronavirus have increased on the JPost website in recent months. Sources at the Jerusalem Post confirmed to The Commentator that the website was no longer available in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Jerusalem Post is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded in 1932. The paper features high-profile writers such Alan Dershowitz, Shmuley Boteach, Barry Rubin and Caroline Glick.

The prominent Saudi blogger and journalist Ahmed Al Omran confirmed on his Twitter feed that the Post website “is blocked,” whilst Haaretz and Ynet are both accessible.

Miller, JPost.com's Managing Editor further noted, "Going on our statistical data about the jpost.com readership, it does appear that Saudi Arabia is blocking access to us. This is a true shame, as we have had always enjoyed a certain popularity in Saudi Arabia, with a consistent readership and increased activity during major news events. We hope that those behind this decision realize how unjust it is to block access to news outlets, and rectify the situation as soon as possible."

Saudi Arabian blogger @Ahmed points out that Lebanon-based al-Akhbar, and both London-based Elaph and al-Quds al-Arabi are also blocked in the country.

Read more on: Jerusalem Post, The Jerusalem Post, Saudi Arabia, and internet censorship
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