In reporting on the popularity of porn sites among Internet users in the Middle East, Al Arabiya TV makes an error. Just because Saudi Arabia and Kuwait do not show up in lists of countries accessing porn does not mean that the residents are not accessing it. What the article misses is the widespread use of proxy sites that enable users to disguise where they’re coming from as well as the countless ways Saudi youths have found to avoid government filtering. Any 17-year-old youth with the will to see it and six or seven neurons to rub together has discovered how to get to the porn sites. The government knows this, but persists in claiming that its network filtering is effective. It makes a good political argument, but it’s false.
At least five pornographic websites are among Egypt’s 100 most frequently visited online destinations this year, according to Alexa, a division of Amazon.com that tracks online traffic patterns globally.
The statistic proves particularly significant as Egyptian web surfers may soon be stripped of all access to Internet pornography sites.
Egypt’s Prosecutor General ordered the government’s ministries of telecommunications, interior and information to begin enforcing a ban on online porn last week.
The five most visited porn sites in Egypt rank at numbers 15, 23, 29, 67, 83, with two X-rated sites appearing in the country’s top 25 most-browsed sites.
Similarly, there are seven pornographic sites in Tunisia that appear among the top 100 most visited sites, coming in at numbers 14, 16 and 20 and 49 60 and 93 and 97.
In Lebanon, the five most visited sites appear later down the list of 100, at numbers 33, 34, 45 and 52 and 58.
Pornography is not permitted throughout the Arab Muslim world, though previously in Egypt, and some other nations, the state has not actively tried to prevent access to online sites.
In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, no pornographic sites appear on the list top 100 most-visited sites due to a filtering policy which block the sites, as is the case in most countries in the Gulf.