A-Shora.net sill under siege [Archives:2007/1035/Local News]

March 22 2007

By: Moneer Al-Omari
SANA'A, March 20 ) The Ministry of Telecommunications has been blocking a news website that belongs to the opposition party, Popular Forces Union, since 24 February. The website was also blocked during the week of local elections and presidential elections last September. Al-Shoura.net, known for its harsh criticism of the regime, has been blocked on the authority of high-ranking officials following numerous official threats against its webmasters.

“This official blocking of our site is a new violation, adding to previous violations targeting us,' sources at the news website said. They added that it was blocked because of government intolerance of its coverage of corruption, human rights abuses and calls for cultural and political reform”.

Earlier this month, officials at the website called on all human rights and press organizations to unite in solidarity with them. They called for more pressure to be exerted upon the Yemeni government to stop its oppression and unblock the website, together with halting other forms of suppression and violations. They called upon the government to uphold the freedoms granted by both the Yemeni Constitution and international law.

Reporters without Borders, an NGO, voiced its concern over the blocking of web sites and forums in general and Al-Shoura.net in particular. “The Yemeni government is increasingly resorting to filtering online content to prevent opposition parties from disseminating their ideas and engaging in constructive dialogue”, the organization said. “As the authorities already control most newspapers and all radio and television stations, censoring the internet has become a natural priority,” it added.

In 2004