Reporters Without Borders

Back online!

Back online!

Published on Friday 30 November 2012. Updated on Saturday 1 December 2012.
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Syria has been back online since December 1st at about 14:30 GMT. Some Internet users have been using VPNs and the TOR network. Psiphon has confirmed it is being used by people inside Syria. However, Internet seems not to be accessible everywhere in the country yet.


Friday, November 30

Devastating blow to news coverage in Syria

Read in Arabic (بالعربية)

Internet, landline phone, mobile phone and 3G connections have all been down since 10:30 GMT yesterday throughout Syria.

Reporting news and information was already extremely difficult in Syria and now the Internet’s disconnection has completed the news blackout imposed by the regime.

“As thousands of Syrians use the Internet to post their accounts of the ongoing conflict on YouTube and social networks, this generalized Internet disconnection has dealt a devastating blow to the circulation of information in Syria and to coverage of the conflict and the repression,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

Reporters Without Borders calls on the Syrian authorities to do everything possible to restore telecommunications networks and to end the news blackout.

Syria’s telecommunications networks have often been subject to cuts since the start of the conflict. Until now, they were limited to individual regions and network types (Internet or telephone). This cut is unprecedented as it has hit the entire country and is affecting fixed-line phones, mobile phones and the Internet.

Currently, the only way to communicate in Syria is either using satellite uplinks, which may expose the user to danger, as they are easily located, or using the telecommunications networks of neighbouring countries (Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon) in the border regions.

Government officials in Damascus have blamed the problem on a “terrorist attack” and say the telecommunications networks will be restored “very soon.”

However, because of the redundancy intrinsic to Internet networks, a technical problem would not suffice to bring down the Internet throughout a country. Only a government that controls the national infrastructure would be in a position to isolate the entire country from the Internet and phone networks at the same time.

Whatever the cause, Syria is now cut off from the rest of the world.

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