Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Local News: Censorship Strikes Again

UPDATE: Well, how very interesting; following a major blowback from local blogs, the site is suddenly, in mid-evening, unblocked. Certainly a turnaround in record time from our beloved monopoly Internet provider. Bravo to the local cybernauts!

This one's mostly for readers here in the Sultanate, but to those outside - enjoy freedom. It's a precious, fragile thing.

I've written about this before, but now our Local Information Overlords have really lost it, blocking just about the most interesting local expat voice on the Internet and, potentially, giving the country a real black eye in the estimation of people everywhere who care about freedom of expression. Yes, blocked as of this morning is Muscat Confidential, an invaluable resource and a great read.

Fortunately, on the Internets, everything is possible (almost), and it's my joy to do for MC's Undercover Dragon what he did for another site that recently faced the censor's axe: provide a link that, through the miracle of Google, allows local readers who don't have their own ways around the dungeon walls to make their own decisions about what they read.

Here it is: Muscat Confidential for all, Muscat Confidential forever! If things don't improve, I'll add a link over there on the right for more permanent use, but for the moment, I hope any local readers who stray by find it of use.


  1. Thanks for spreading the word Muscato - :)

  2. Dear Muscato,

    Thanks for the support for Muscat Confidential! Although of course Omantel don't feel a need to actually justify such unilateral action, I suspect it was that photo posted a couple of days ago of two women kissing that did it.

    Despite, IMHO, it being a pretty tame photo, the connection between the photo, the interview story it accompanied about an Omani bi-lesbian, and the fact that the girls in the photo looked Omani, offended some people (I think a small minority of my readers) and it was probably enough to justify a block. Queen Victoria would be proud.

    FYI, the photo has now been removed (it was immaterial), and hopefully Omantel will unblock me as quickly as they did Community Queer last month, in response to emails requesting that they do so.

    I'll also be making some direct representations to the powers that be.

    So, thanks for the support people. If you want MC to be unblocked (especially now the suspect photo has been removed), just fill in the nice form provided by the Omantel net-censors!

    Note: viewers from outside Oman are not affected.