The emergence of new information technologies in general and the Internet, in particular, has spawned a range of ethical issues, which varied depending on the cultural environment that they were planted in. As a result, the idea of introducing Internet censorship has emerged in a range of states. The specified measure is harsh, yet it prevents crimes from occurring. The purpose of this paper is to explore the positive effects of Internet censorship on UAE users and comment on its efficacy. The first part of the paper will address the specifics of online communication in the UAE, outlining the reasoning behind the creation of Internet censorship.
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The second part of the paper will point out the obvious benefits of Internet censorship in the UAE setting. Finally, the discussion will provide a detailed analysis of the subject matter and offer suggestions concerning the improvement of the current situation. Despite the fact that the idea of the Internet censorship may seem somewhat conflicting with the concept of democracy and the right for people to communicate and learn information, the existence of censorship is justified by the fact that people may fail to accept certain concepts that are alien to their culture. The Internet censorship, therefore, serves as the shied for protecting the moral fabric of the UAE society and needs to be continued as the state policy (Baidya 2).
Over the past few years, the government of the UAE introduced several measures, the main aim of which is to protect the mentality of people of the state and its culture from the pernicious influence of online malefactors. According to their plans, censorship must have a beneficial influence on the development of culture in the UAE and, moreover, help to preserve traditional values that are appreciated in the country. Nowadays, the world proclaims that democracy should guarantee access to different sources of information for people to be able to understand different points of view on the issue. However, the UAE government adopts a different approach.
For instance, access to some sites is prohibited because they can do harm to different denizens of society. There are several categories of content that are prohibited. Among them, there are sites, which can raise some ethical issues, sites which stand against values promoted and encouraged in the UAE, sites, which contain scenes of violence, explicit sex scenes, and some other sites. Therefore, it is possible to assume that Internet censorship exists in the UAE and, moreover, it is a rather efficient tool that helps to preserve the cultural values of the UAE.
Nowadays, many different Internet sources touch upon religious issues and promote atheism and negative attitude towards religion. It is possible to say that such sites can be dangerous for the culture of the UAE. It has already been stated that the whole life of the country is subordinated to religious matters. The majority of the UAE population are Muslims, and they appreciate their faith and religious traditions. Nowadays, there are a great number of dissidences between the representatives of different religions, which, unfortunately, often result in serious skirmishes and even military conflicts. That is why it is possible to say that the speculations or discussions about the issue of religion can lead to an escalation of violence and further aggravation of the situation since people could respond to the critique of their religion violently and new victims will appear.
Under these conditions, the prohibition of sites, which promote discussion of religious issues, seems to be a rather wise choice, which can preserve the culture of the UAE. However, nowadays, there are also a great number of proponents of the idea that people should be given the opportunity to cogitate about religious issues because of the development of democracy and tolerance (Levin 47). However, the issue of religion is too private, and, moreover, it is protected by the law, which guarantees the inviolacy of private life. Hence, it is possible to say that religious issues should be excluded from any discussions and be respected by people.
Another sphere, where censorship is applied, is connected with ethics and morality. Being a state where great attention to religion is given, the UAE has a negative attitude towards sources, which have some scenes connected with nudity, dating, sex, and gender issues. Being rather strict in this question, the government of the UAE preserves moral values of people in the state and tries to stop depravity of the UAE youth, which the content from other countries in the world contributes to. This step is timely and wise, since it addresses the specifics of the UAE culture and traditions in the context of global communication and networking, and will obviously help preserve family values and moral issues in the UAE (Riel 4).
The main concern of the UAE authorities is that the majority of countries in the world provide full access for people to the Internet including the sources, which have sexual or violent content. The above-mentioned lack of insight on information management leads to the destruction of traditional relations between men and women and increase of the level of sexual violence in the UAE. Moreover, the role of a family in the life of a person becomes increasingly less significant. The aforementioned pattern of development is unacceptable for the UAE with its traditionally respectable attitude towards this institution. Consequently, the government tries to preserve the basis of the society’s moral fabric in the UAE.
However, there is the opinion in society, which states that these measures will not stop the process of change of the role of family and will only promote development of dissatisfaction with the current laws (Richet 37). Nevertheless, nowadays, the UAE has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, which means that this practice has a doubtlessly positive influence on people.
Another important aspect, which should be mentioned while talking about the issue of censorship in the UAE, is the prohibition of sites which promote some illegal actions or which act not in accordance with the laws of the state. In the realm of the present-day UAE legislation and traditions, this step is quite logical and efficient. The key problem is that the Internet is always taken as the place where people are able to say whatever they want and, moreover, even share some information, which can damage the society and even a state (Wang 3). In addition, the actions related to spreading information related to violence or religious controversies are illegal and, therefore, are to be punished.
However, in the majority of states, the concept of the Internet censorship does not exist and, as a result, there is no legal reason for addressing the issue of violent or suggestive online content, no matter how controversial it is. Hence, it is possible to say that the UAE government has adopted the most reasonable approach towards the issue of the Internet content controversy. There are certain laws, which determine the kind of punishment for people, who act not in accordance with the laws; moreover, all potentially dangerous sites are prohibited in the UAE. As a result, the number of opportunities for people to break the law decreases.
It is rather difficult for them to commit online crimes because special departments address violations of this kind and try to prevent people from doing it. There is still another point of view on this issue, which states that people should not be deprived of possibility to attend all sites on the Internet and that it is for them to choose what to do, as they are responsible for their actions (Khanna, Dhingra, and Choudhary 2696). However, this approach leads to the increase of the level of Internet crimes, while in the UAE the government tries to prevent them. Officials are interested not in the fair punishment of a criminal but in the possibility of getting rid of different crimes forever.
Introducing Internet censorship to the UAE environment, therefore, must be viewed as a rather legitimate measure, since the difference in the cultures of the UAE and other states may serve as the ploy for disrupting peace among the UAE residents. Particulatrly, some of the time honored traditions may be questioned under the pressure of the information that the Internet has to offer. Consequently, a range of ideas that must be considered dangerous and even harmful to peace within the UAE and among the UAE residents may spark a series of conflicts. Internet censorship, in its turn, must be interpreted as a measure for preventing the above-mentioned scenario and help the UAE online users to accept the ideas that are suggested by other cultures gradually.
As a result, the shock value of the information that the Internet will offer to its UAE users will eventually drop, and the possible conflicts will be avoided. The unavailability of certain resources and the lack of personal choice in defining the course of online browsing must not be interpreted as people’s rights infringement – instead, it must be considered a step towards facilitating nationwide online safety.
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