The ministry’s steps are seen as harsh censorship and interference in personal privacy
Two pornographic sites have been blocked in Azerbaijan.
The Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies claims that the content of these sites contained child pornography.
The ministry’s steps have caused an unexpected wave of indignation among Azerbaijani internet users. Several news sites were blocked just in the past two months on charges of libel and dissemination of incorrect information, in addition to Meydan TV, Azadliq (the Azerbaijani station of Radio Liberty) and three other sites that publish criticism of the government which were blocked in 2017.
However, none of these cases angered Azerbaijani internet users to such an extent. The closure of news sites was lamented mainly by journalists and civil activists, while the closure of pornographic sites caused outcry among the general public. Many considered this a gross interference in private life:
“Before, they only protected their power, and now they consider themselves entitled to decide for us what we can and cannot watch on the internet.”
“Yeah, we’re on our way to dark times. Next they will block all ‘unwanted’ sites for the state, etc. I advise everyone to buy a VPN.”
“It’s not even that they block this or that site … It’s that they do not try to explain at least why they’re doing this. I have the feeling that, in general, we are not considered people. You cannot anger the people like this, it will not bring you good.”