Censorship

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Censorship
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The United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪 is a federation of seven Middle Eastern emirates and practices Islam. The country was formed on December 2, 1971.

As civic law is based on Sharia, it is very conservative. All forms of homosexuality are outlawed and punishable by death.

Book censorship[]

  • Animal Farm - in 2002, this political novella by George Orwell was banned in the schools of the United Arab Emirates, because it contained text or images that would go against Islamic values, most notably an anthropomorphic, talking pig as the leader of the farm. However, the ban is no longer enforced and has been recently lifted.
  • Goat Years - this Malayalam-language novel by Benyamin and Joseph Koyippally about an abused migrant worker in Saudi Arabia was banned in the United Arab Emirates in 2008.

Internet censorship[]

A blocked website in the UAE.

  • YouTube was briefly blocked by the UAE's Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) from August 2006 to October 2006 due to increasing concerns regarding the presence of adult content in the website. According to the TRA, the block was done due to YouTube not categorizing and separating adult pornographic content from normal content. The ban was lifted in October 2006.
  • Emirates Discussion Forum was first censored UAE authorities in November 200, due to an article entitled “Beyond the Biography of Allah” which offered an atheistic critique of monotheistic divinity, a taboo topic in the religiously conservative UAE society. However, since February 7, 2010, access to the website has been completely disrupted in the UAE; visitors receive a network error message. As of May 2017, the website account had been suspended and not accessible to anyone in any part of the world.
  • Secret Dubai was blocked in 2010 by UAE's Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE.
  • The Best Page In The Universe is banned in the UAE and the page's creator is proud of that, even to the point to travel to Dubai in order to verify that his site is indeed banned there and to litter printouts of his website around the city to taunt the ban. (Turns out he was banned for a technicality, not content, but he thinks it still counts.)
  • Un-person is banned in stores or other workplaces associated with Apple, in such a way that suggests the site doesn't even exist at all (attempts to access it from those IPs instead redirect to a MacBook Pro ad).
  • In 2016, the website of the Middle East Eye was blocked.

Movie censorship[]

  • Black Swan - This film was banned for sexual themes considered too taboo for the country's sensibilities. It would have been released with cuts made, but Mohammad Naser, the UAE cinema censor, declared that there would be too much to cut and there's no point in showing a butchered film.
  • Eternals - This film was banned after Disney declined a request by censors to edit scenes depicting a couple in a same-sex marriage.
  • Noah - This film was banned for contradicting Islamic teachings, where Noah is considered as one of the important prophets of Allah.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - This film was only allowed to be shown in the country as long a same-sex kiss scene was cut.
  • Fifty Shades of Gray - While the novel was not banned, this film got banned for unspecified reasons.

Television censorship[]

  • Following the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis, where Qatar was alleged having funded terrorist groups, Many Middle Eastern countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, followed Saudi Arabia's lead by banning Al-Jazeera from the country.

Video game censorship[]

In the United Arab Emirates, a branch of the government called the National Media Council (NMC) works to control the media and entertainment industry in the country, and they have the authority to issue bans on any specific media products, including video games, to comply with the country's legal and cultural values. Usually, the NMC do not explicitly state their actual consensus for any kind of issued ban on a product, so official reasons behind their bans remain unclear. However, bans issued by the NMC apply only to the sale of those products through local outlets; they do not make private ownership illegal. There are certain exceptions, notably for Spec Ops: The Line (see below). Some banned games may be available and sold on the nation's grey market.

In 2018, the NMC introduced a localised rating system for various media, including video games.

The following titles are banned from mainstream physical retail. However, unlike Saudi Arabia, most of these games can still be seen on digital storefronts such as the PlayStation Store.

  • BlazBlue: Continuum Shift - This game was banned because of the suggestive and revealing outfits on some characters.
  • Saints Row: The Third - This game was banned due to the game's mass amount of sexual content and drinking featured in the game.
  • Spec Ops: The Line - This game was banned for showing Dubai as a devastated city left to rot under massive sandstorms. Listening to the audio logs found in the game shows that the government of the UAE and Dubai ordered a media cover-up on the increasingly dangerous and powerful sandstorms, then fled once the sandstorms grew too intense. Unlike the other examples, which the ban only applies for registered retailers to desist selling those products via their local outlets (privately owning the game or buying it online aren't illegal), the government had extended their focus for this title going far as to block the game's official website and subsequently stop the title's distribution throughout the rest of the GCC, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon. The game remains unavailable via digital platforms such as Steam and PSN. However, the game is still available in PSN in Qatar and Dubai
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us - This game was almost banned, until the title was changed to Injustice: Heroes Among Us, which then allowed the game to be released.
  • Fallout: New Vegas - This game was banned due to the presence of casinos (including the Betting Mini Game) and brothels (including strippers and Optional Sexual Encounter, although the latter case is fade to black), both are plot important place. However, the digital versions aren't banned.
  • God of War - This game was banned due to the high violence and sexual content. Conversely, the 2018 PS4 game, which toned down the former and lack the latter, was not.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel: The fourth game of the franchise became in the UAE for undisclosed reasons.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Banned after players in the GCC noticed that the picture frames in some maps had quotations from the Quran, which were very offensive to Muslims. The ban was lifted after the developers removed the text on the frames.
  • Darksiders - banned likely due to contradicting with customs and traditions. However, the ban did not extend to the digital version of the game. Its sequel, Darksiders II, which features similar themes, was released without issues and even had a localised print release for the PlayStation 3 versionl.
  • Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide were banned likely due to "extreme depiction of violence and scantily-clad game characters". The digital versions are not affected, though.
  • Dead Rising 2 was banned likely due to violence, gambling and nudity. However, the ban has since been lifted for newer prints of the game.
  • Dragon Age: Origins - banned likely due to sexual themes, including possible homosexual relationships.
  • Gal Gun: Double Peace and Gal Gun 2 were banned due to sexual themes.
  • The Godfather II - banned due to nudity.
  • Grand Theft Auto series - banned likely due to violence, cruelty and sexual content. For unknown reasons, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been available via Steam ever since the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V was launched, which itself is openly available on Steam from the debut. Shortly after Steam introduced the dirham as official currency for the UAE user accounts on 10 November 2015, most Rockstar games became available to purchase for those user accounts, including most Grand Theft Auto titles (For unknown reasons, almost every Rockstar game was regionally locked out on Steam, whether banned or not).
  • Heavy Rain - banned likely due to graphic violence, sexual content, nudity and a sultry seduction scene.
  • The Last of Us Part II - banned due to homosexual-related content
  • Mafia II - banned due to excessive violence and nudity.
  • Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 were banned due to possible homosexual relationships.
  • Postal 2 - banned due to violence against Muslims, as well as excessive violence, sexual themes and other highly questionable content.
  • Roblox - banned in 2018 likely due to content deemed harmful for children. The ban was later overturned.
  • Red Dead Rdemption was initially banned, likely due to nudity. The ban was lifted two months after the official release date.
  • Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV were banned because of sexual themes, excessive violence and use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni - banned due to homosexual relationships between characters and high-impact sexual themes. However, the ban did not extend to the digital version of the game.
  • Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2 - were banned for unknown reason, possibly due to hacking and nudity. Watch Dogs' ban did not extend to the DLC, and is only available on non-Steam distributors, furthermore, this version of the ban extends throughout the GCC while the ban for Watch Dogs 2 has been lifted.
  • Omega Labyrinth Z - banned due to excessive sexual themes.

External links[]

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