It was splashed all over the newspaper. Now, not only forummers from Hardwarezone know about it, not only forummers from SammyBoy Unmoderated know about it, but the whole of Singapore and possible the whole world know about it. That there’s a video sharing site that’s somewhat like YouTube, except that it’s not your usual blonde girl singing off-key Karaoke, nor is it some up and rising superstar hitting the videos.

It’s a porn-sharing video site!

Well, there’s as far as the "good news" end. The bad news is if you didn’t know about it, knowing it doesn’t help, and if you already knew about it, then there’s nothing you can do. It’s been added to the MDA’s list of severely objectionable sites, which comprises of the top 100 sites. In fact, there were 2 of them, ranked 19th and 33rd in Alexa, and both had been added to the list. But get this – since it’s the top 100 objectionable site list, that means 2 sites have apparently been removed from the list and the MDA ain’t telling ya.

st-singapore-hottest-porn SINGAPORE’S two most popular pornographic websites, both of which allow users to upload porn videos for others to watch, have been banned here.

Home Internet users visiting them since last Friday have been flashed a message that the sites have been blocked by the Media Development Authority (MDA), the content regulator.

The two sites rank 19th and 33rd in popularity among all websites visited here, said web-tracking service Alexa.

Much like popular video-sharing site YouTube, the sites allow users to watch videos posted by others and upload their own – in these cases, pornographic – videos to share with others.

MDA senior assistant director for media policy Jason Hoong said the agency decided to block the two sites when it realised how easily accessible by the young its hardcore porn videos were; the videos, which are free, start playing when the user clicks on the links.

MDA restricts access to 100 ‘mass-impact objectionable websites as a symbolic statement of our core societal values’, Mr Hoong said in an e-mail reply to The Straits Times.

To keep the list at 100, two other websites would have had to be taken off the list. Mr Hoong did not say which two sites were de-listed. The MDA has never revealed the sites on its list.

It is not clear how successful the ban can be: As it covers only home Internet access, users can still visit the two sites and the other 98 banned ones from their office computers.

But if they do this, it could well put their jobs on the line as most companies have strict Internet-usage policies that prohibit visiting porn sites at work.

News of the ban, predictably, riled some online users. Some ranted on popular forums like Sammyboy and HardwareZone.

One of them, going by the online nickname ‘thegame’, said on the Sammyboy forum that MDA was ‘just like a parent’ who ruled over his children ‘with an iron fist’. Others lamented the loss of access to the sites – then solicited suggestions for alternative sites.

Parents like Mr J.W. Chee, 38, a father to two boys aged 10 and seven, hailed the ban. But he added that a ‘better long-term solution’ lies in educating parents and raising their awareness to put them in a better position to advise their children on the use of the Internet.

If some online users are not too bothered by the ban, it could be that they are Net-savvy enough to know how to circumvent it, for example, by using a proxy to masquerade as a non-Singapore user and thus gain entry to the sites.

YouTube’s video-sharing concept has spawned a host of clones focusing on niche themes – from the religious (www.godtube.com) to more frivolous (www.shoetube.tv).

YouTube had previously been banned in Thailand and Turkey for hosting videos deemed insulting to the Thai King and the country’s founder respectively. It remains banned in Turkey.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 23rd May 2008



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