Censorship plan draws criticism

Updated 09 December 2013

Censorship plan draws criticism

The Saudi Audiovisual Commission has recently announced that they will be monitoring and censoring visual content on YouTube. The commission will require subscribers to obtain a permit that clarifies certain regulations and conditions.
Many Saudi youth have expressed their discontent and rejection of the idea, arguing that it will limit the content that is available for them on the Website.
Dr. Riyadh Najm, chairman of the Saudi Audiovisual commission, explained in a phone interview that was aired in YaHala show on Rotana Khalijiah that the aim of the permit is to find suitable opportunities for talented Saudi youth who produce their own shows on social media and to educate them about the rules and regulations that are suitable for the Saudi society. “Of course there are certain companies who are using the social media site, but they are not our priority for the time being, we are focusing on enhancing and improving the regulars and individual users and will begin monitoring their content,” he said. “The commission does not care bout subscribers; our concern is about content and that’s the only thing we want to monitor, to ensure it abides by our cultural and religious rules,” he added.
“I am sometimes shocked that some music videos are blocked and we are denied access to them, even though there is no reason for them to be blocked,” said twitter subscriber Sarah Kunaji. “I wish they would concede to the fact that most Internet users are educated people who know right from wrong, so there is no need for over protection,” she added.
The decision to censor content will limit the freedom of Saudi YouTubers, according to Hassan Mesaed, another twitter subscriber. “We use social media to share our opinions about different subject including social and political ones.
“Print media has limited freedom of speech and we can never know the whole truth from these traditional outlets,” he said, adding, “This will definitely suffocate us because we got a taste of how to speak and hear other people through the YouTube shows without worrying about facing censorship.”
Meanwhile, Ahmed Al-Zahrani, YouTube subscriber, said, “Things are not clear to YouTube subscribers. The statement from the chairman is not clear to many of us, as we still need to know who will need the permit. Is the permit for new subscribers or all Saudi subscribers? How are they going to monitor this? What are the new rules that we need to follow?” he wondered.


Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroid

Updated 13 November 2019

Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroid

  • The spacecraft will travel 180 million miles on its journey back to Earth
  • It will bring back soil samples that provide clues to life in space

TOKYO: Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft departed from a distant asteroid on Wednesday, starting its yearlong journey home after successfully completing its mission to bring back soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, the country’s space agency said.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the spacecraft left its orbit around the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth.
Hayabusa2 on Wednesday captured and transmitted to Earth one of its final images of Ryugu, or “Dragon Palace,” named after a sea-bottom castle in a Japanese folk tale, as it slowly began moving away from its temporary home, JAXA said. Hayabusa2 will continue its “farewell filming” of the asteroid for a few more days.
Then Hayabusa2 will adjust its position on around Nov. 18 after retreating 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the asteroid and out of its the gravitational pull. It will then receive a signal from JAXA to ignite a main engine in early December en route to the Earth’s vicinity.
Hayabusa2 made touchdowns on the asteroid twice, despite difficulties caused by Ryugu’s extremely rocky surface, and successfully collected data and samples during its 1½-year mission since arriving there in June 2018.
In the first touchdown in February, it collected surface dust samples. In July, it collected underground samples for the first time in space history after landing in a crater it had earlier created by blasting the asteroid surface.
Hayabusa2 is expected to return to Earth in late 2020 and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in the Australian desert.
It took the spacecraft 3½ years to arrive at the asteroid, but the journey home is much shorter thanks to the current locations of Ryugu and Earth.
JAXA scientists believe the underground samples contain valuable data unaffected by space radiation and other environmental factors that could tell more about the origin of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Asteroids, which orbit the sun but are much smaller than planets, are among the oldest objects in the solar system and may help explain how Earth evolved. Hayabusa2 scientists also said they believe the samples contain carbon and organic matter and hope they could explain how they are related to Earth.