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Operation Collateral Freedom

Reporters Without Borders

Qatar listed amongst RSF’s Enemies of the Internet

As Doha News approaches its fourth month of being blocked in Qatar, international non-profit Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has come up with an innovative solution to the issue.

As part of a campaign to mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, the group has launched a mirrored version of the Doha News website that is accessible in Qatar.

Bookmark this URL to access our site whenever you want: http://ec2-52-17-106-120.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com/

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

If you use Google Chrome, RSF has also built a handy Chrome browser extension to make it easier to access the mirror.

Fighting censorship

The mirrored site is part of RSF’s annual Operation #CollateralFreedom campaign. This year, the group is unblocking 24 websites across Turkey, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and beyond.

RSF explains how it works on their website:

“Operation #CollateralFreedom circumvents technological censorship by means of an original strategy in which “mirrors” or duplicates of the censored websites are created on the servers of the world’s Internet giants.

Authoritarian regimes cannot block access to the mirrors without the “collateral damage” of restricting their own access to the services of these Internet companies.”

Do the sites for you? Thoughts?

DN

Doha News

DN

The heads of Qatar’s two telecom companies have confirmed that http://ec2-52-17-106-120.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com has been blocked inside the country.

In a statement to Doha News on Sunday, Ooredoo CEO Waleed Al-Sayed said:

“We can confirm that access to the Doha News website is currently restricted in Qatar, due to concerns raised regarding the licensing of your organization.

The two authorities best-placed to help you resolve this issue are the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.”

Vodafone CEO Ian Gray sent a separate statement echoing the confirmation, saying, “As you are aware, access to the Doha News website across the network of Vodafone Qatar Q.S.C is currently blocked.”

He continued:

“We kindly suggest that you make contact and liaise directly with the Ministry of Culture and also the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. We will be pleased to unblock access once the requirements of the relevant concerned parties have been met.”

Criticism

Doha News was officially blocked in Qatar on Nov. 30, after operating for six years as a website without issue.

Initially, Qatar’s standard censored image popped up when users tried to access the site.

Now, however, the page only appears to look like it is having trouble loading.

News of the move quickly spread internationally last week, with several people criticizing authorities in Qatar for having double standards.

However, officials have told Doha News that the issue is not one of censorship, but of proper licensing as a media company in Qatar.

We will be speaking more with authorities this week to see what can be done to resolve the issue.

Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Stokpic.com

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It’s been five days since authorities in Qatar blocked access to http://ec2-52-17-106-120.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com inside the country.

We’ve since come to understand that this was an intentional act, in part due to issues with our licensing.

We’re continuing to speak to officials this week to see how we can resolve the problem.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Roger H. Goun / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At the same time, we reject the idea that our news website should be blocked over licensing concerns — this is a clear act of censorship, and a fairly unprecedented one in Qatar.

In the interest of protecting our team, we will be reducing the number of articles we publish until we can resolve the problem and get http://ec2-52-17-106-120.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com unblocked.

Many of you have expressed solidarity with us — a gesture we greatly appreciate. Others have asked how they can continue to read Doha News.

Here are some suggestions:

Our daily newsletter

The easiest way to get our news is to sign up for DN’s Daily Newsletter. They now contain all our articles in full and go out each day at 5pm Doha time.

If you’re not able to access the signup page, drop us a line on [email protected] and we’ll add you to the list.

Medium.com

We’ll be posting select articles on medium.com/dohanews.

iOS: Apple News

For Apple iOS device users, Apple News is a free app that comes bundled on the latest and updated devices.

If you can’t find it on your phone, you may have to set your location to the United States. Search for “Doha News” or “Qatar” and you’ll be able to subscribe to our updates.

Android: Google Play Newsstand

For Android device users, you’ll be able to read Doha News articles through the Google Play Newsstand App.

Click this link on your mobile device to subscribe , or search for Doha News in the app.

Mobile browser: Google AMP

Our articles are also available via Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages project.

Just search for “Doha News” in Google on a mobile device, and you should be able to read versions of our articles right in the search engine.

Tor (Browser) or VPN

Finally, The Tor project is free software that anonymizes internet use.
Similarly, Tor Browser is a web browser that uses the anonymous Tor network to allow people to access websites that may otherwise be blocked in their countries.

Alternatively, if you have access to a Virtual Private Network that resides outside Qatar, you should be able to access http://ec2-52-17-106-120.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com when logged in.

Thoughts?