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[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East
Hi folks - sharing a news release that WMF issued this morning along with STC.

(This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/WMF_and_STC_partner_on_WP_Zero_in_the_Middle_East)

'''The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East'''

''Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia''

San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
-- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
all mobile phones.

This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
its strategic planning.

“We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Improving access to the
Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic
priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in
our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free
knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this
mission.”

In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version
optimized for slower connections is also available at
zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
speeds despite being a free service.

Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “One
of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading
social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that
accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base.” He
then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social
awareness.”

The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and
alternatives.

For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC

'''About Saudi Telecom'''
www.stc.com.sa

Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
addition, it provides mobile services, international
telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

'''About Wikimedia Foundation'''
http://wikimediafoundation.org
http://blog.wikimedia.org

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.


--
Jay Walsh
Head of Communications
WikimediaFoundation.org
blog.wikimedia.org
+1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
Wonderful news!
Big thanks goes for all the people who made this happen.

On 14 October 2012 20:32, Jay Walsh <jwalsh@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi folks - sharing a news release that WMF issued this morning along with
> STC.
>
> (This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at
>
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/WMF_and_STC_partner_on_WP_Zero_in_the_Middle_East
> )
>
> '''The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
> access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East'''
>
> ''Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia''
>
> San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
> -- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
> a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
> mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
> By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
> and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
> and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
> customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
> all mobile phones.
>
> This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
> strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
> world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
> device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
> Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
> its strategic planning.
>
> “We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
> accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Improving access to the
> Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic
> priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in
> our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free
> knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
> Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
> provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
> around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this
> mission.”
>
> In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
> digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
> access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
> mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version
> optimized for slower connections is also available at
> zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
> leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
> fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
> available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
> speeds despite being a free service.
>
> Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “One
> of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading
> social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that
> accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base.” He
> then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
> that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social
> awareness.”
>
> The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
> prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
> commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
> demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
> aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and
> alternatives.
>
> For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC
>
> '''About Saudi Telecom'''
> www.stc.com.sa
>
> Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
> telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
> the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
> prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
> company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
> telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
> segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
> Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
> communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
> wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
> telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
> and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
> services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
> addition, it provides mobile services, international
> telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
> and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
> was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
>
> '''About Wikimedia Foundation'''
> http://wikimediafoundation.org
> http://blog.wikimedia.org
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
> Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
> Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
> receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
> the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
> 2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
> million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
> roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
> Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
> primarily through donations and grants.
>
>
> --
> Jay Walsh
> Head of Communications
> WikimediaFoundation.org
> blog.wikimedia.org
> +1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>



--
Mido
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
that sounds great! is this offer available to all STC clients, or only
restricted to certain plans?

On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 8:01 PM, Mohamed Ibrahim
<mido.architect@gmail.com>wrote:

> Wonderful news!
> Big thanks goes for all the people who made this happen.
>
> On 14 October 2012 20:32, Jay Walsh <jwalsh@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> > Hi folks - sharing a news release that WMF issued this morning along with
> > STC.
> >
> > (This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at
> >
> >
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/WMF_and_STC_partner_on_WP_Zero_in_the_Middle_East
> > )
> >
> > '''The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
> > access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East'''
> >
> > ''Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia''
> >
> > San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
> > -- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
> > a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
> > mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
> > By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
> > and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
> > and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
> > customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
> > all mobile phones.
> >
> > This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
> > strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
> > world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
> > device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
> > Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
> > its strategic planning.
> >
> > “We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
> > accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Improving access to the
> > Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic
> > priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in
> > our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free
> > knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
> > Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
> > provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
> > around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this
> > mission.”
> >
> > In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
> > digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
> > access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
> > mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version
> > optimized for slower connections is also available at
> > zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
> > leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
> > fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
> > available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
> > speeds despite being a free service.
> >
> > Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “One
> > of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading
> > social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that
> > accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base.” He
> > then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
> > that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social
> > awareness.”
> >
> > The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
> > prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
> > commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
> > demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
> > aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and
> > alternatives.
> >
> > For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:
> > https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC
> >
> > '''About Saudi Telecom'''
> > www.stc.com.sa
> >
> > Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
> > telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
> > the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
> > prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
> > company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
> > telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
> > segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
> > Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
> > communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
> > wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
> > telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
> > and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
> > services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
> > addition, it provides mobile services, international
> > telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
> > and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
> > was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
> >
> > '''About Wikimedia Foundation'''
> > http://wikimediafoundation.org
> > http://blog.wikimedia.org
> >
> > The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
> > Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
> > Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
> > receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
> > the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
> > 2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
> > million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
> > roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
> > Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
> > primarily through donations and grants.
> >
> >
> > --
> > Jay Walsh
> > Head of Communications
> > WikimediaFoundation.org
> > blog.wikimedia.org
> > +1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Mido
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM, rupert THURNER
<rupert.thurner@gmail.com>wrote:

> that sounds great! is this offer available to all STC clients, or only
> restricted to certain plans?
>

To all STC customers. More details here:

https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC

--
Kul Wadhwa
Head of Mobile
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
Will access to Wikipedia for people in Saudi Arabia be uncensored?

Has there been any agreement with Saudi Telecom on censorship?

Andreas

On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 6:32 PM, Jay Walsh <jwalsh@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi folks - sharing a news release that WMF issued this morning along with
> STC.
>
> (This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at
>
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/WMF_and_STC_partner_on_WP_Zero_in_the_Middle_East
> )
>
> '''The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
> access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East'''
>
> ''Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia''
>
> San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
> -- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
> a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
> mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
> By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
> and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
> and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
> customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
> all mobile phones.
>
> This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
> strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
> world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
> device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
> Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
> its strategic planning.
>
> “We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
> accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Improving access to the
> Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic
> priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in
> our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free
> knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
> Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
> provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
> around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this
> mission.”
>
> In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
> digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
> access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
> mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version
> optimized for slower connections is also available at
> zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
> leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
> fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
> available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
> speeds despite being a free service.
>
> Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “One
> of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading
> social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that
> accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base.” He
> then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
> that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social
> awareness.”
>
> The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
> prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
> commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
> demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
> aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and
> alternatives.
>
> For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC
>
> '''About Saudi Telecom'''
> www.stc.com.sa
>
> Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
> telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
> the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
> prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
> company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
> telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
> segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
> Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
> communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
> wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
> telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
> and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
> services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
> addition, it provides mobile services, international
> telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
> and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
> was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
>
> '''About Wikimedia Foundation'''
> http://wikimediafoundation.org
> http://blog.wikimedia.org
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
> Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
> Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
> receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
> the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
> 2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
> million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
> roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
> Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
> primarily through donations and grants.
>
>
> --
> Jay Walsh
> Head of Communications
> WikimediaFoundation.org
> blog.wikimedia.org
> +1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list
Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
Awesome!

Congrats to mobile team for a promising deal. Great job! Can't wait to see
readership _and edit (for the future!)_ stats in KSA for the next months.

@Andreas: Censorship! Thats interesting --but my understanding is that
Wikiipedia is fine in KSA, except for some visual content that is being
blocked.

Once again, thumbs up to mobile team, legal, admin, and anyone who helped
this deal come true.

Best,
/M

On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 11:12 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:

> Will access to Wikipedia for people in Saudi Arabia be uncensored?
>
> Has there been any agreement with Saudi Telecom on censorship?
>
> Andreas
>
> On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 6:32 PM, Jay Walsh <jwalsh@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> > Hi folks - sharing a news release that WMF issued this morning along with
> > STC.
> >
> > (This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at
> >
> >
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/WMF_and_STC_partner_on_WP_Zero_in_the_Middle_East
> > )
> >
> > '''The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
> > access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East'''
> >
> > ''Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia''
> >
> > San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
> > -- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
> > a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
> > mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
> > By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
> > and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
> > and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
> > customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
> > all mobile phones.
> >
> > This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
> > strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
> > world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
> > device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
> > Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
> > its strategic planning.
> >
> > “We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
> > accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Improving access to the
> > Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic
> > priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in
> > our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free
> > knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
> > Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
> > provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
> > around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this
> > mission.”
> >
> > In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
> > digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
> > access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
> > mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version
> > optimized for slower connections is also available at
> > zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
> > leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
> > fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
> > available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
> > speeds despite being a free service.
> >
> > Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “One
> > of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading
> > social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that
> > accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base.” He
> > then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
> > that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social
> > awareness.”
> >
> > The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
> > prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
> > commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
> > demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
> > aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and
> > alternatives.
> >
> > For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:
> > https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC
> >
> > '''About Saudi Telecom'''
> > www.stc.com.sa
> >
> > Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
> > telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
> > the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
> > prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
> > company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
> > telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
> > segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
> > Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
> > communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
> > wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
> > telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
> > and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
> > services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
> > addition, it provides mobile services, international
> > telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
> > and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
> > was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
> >
> > '''About Wikimedia Foundation'''
> > http://wikimediafoundation.org
> > http://blog.wikimedia.org
> >
> > The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
> > Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
> > Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
> > receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
> > the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
> > 2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
> > million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
> > roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
> > Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
> > primarily through donations and grants.
> >
> >
> > --
> > Jay Walsh
> > Head of Communications
> > WikimediaFoundation.org
> > blog.wikimedia.org
> > +1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 3:31 AM, Moushira Elamrawy <moushirah@gmail.com>wrote:

> @Andreas: Censorship! Thats interesting --but my understanding is that
> Wikiipedia is fine in KSA, except for some visual content that is being
> blocked.


Not exactly.[1][2] ;)

Regards
Theo

[1]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Saudi_Arabia#Internet
[2]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_articles_censored_in_Saudi_Arabia
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 12:06 AM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 3:31 AM, Moushira Elamrawy <moushirah@gmail.com
> >wrote:
>
> > @Andreas: Censorship! Thats interesting --but my understanding is that
> > Wikiipedia is fine in KSA, except for some visual content that is being
> > blocked.
>
>
> Not exactly.[1][2] ;)
>

Yes, this too, but people always manage to work around it ;)
In general it is accessible and better than the censorship status in other
countries (Syria!), and the government is investing in increasing Wikipedia
Arabic content, so a lot could be done to expand readership and editor base
with the current status, even if it isn't perfect.

Best,
M

>
> Regards
> Theo
>
> [1]
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Saudi_Arabia#Internet
> [2]
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_articles_censored_in_Saudi_Arabia
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On 14 October 2012 22:12, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:
> Will access to Wikipedia for people in Saudi Arabia be uncensored?

Very unlikely.

> Has there been any agreement with Saudi Telecom on censorship?

The Saudi's don't like to discuss their censorship policies with
outsiders. I would assume that they take the view that it is something
they can manage on their own.

--
geni

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM, Moushira Elamrawy <moushirah@gmail.com>wrote:

> Yes, this too, but people always manage to work around it ;)
> In general it is accessible and better than the censorship status in other
> countries (Syria!), and the government is investing in increasing Wikipedia
> Arabic content, so a lot could be done to expand readership and editor base
> with the current status, even if it isn't perfect.
>
> Best,
> M
>


The Saudi government is investing in increasing Arabic Wikipedia content?
Are you sure?

Could you tell us more about this project – i.e. how the funding is
distributed, and who does the editing?

A.




> >
> > Regards
> > Theo
> >
> > [1]
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Saudi_Arabia#Internet
> > [2]
> >
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_articles_censored_in_Saudi_Arabia
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 6:23 AM, geni <geniice@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 14 October 2012 22:12, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Will access to Wikipedia for people in Saudi Arabia be uncensored?
>
> Very unlikely.
>
> > Has there been any agreement with Saudi Telecom on censorship?
>
> The Saudi's don't like to discuss their censorship policies with
> outsiders. I would assume that they take the view that it is something
> they can manage on their own.



These questions are really for Jay to answer, rather than for us to
speculate on.

What I mean is: Is there any mention of censorship in the partnership
agreement, one way or the other? Is the text of the agreement public? Would
it be possible to make it public, for transparency? If not, why not?
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
The press release that started this thread said,

>In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
>digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
>access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
>mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org.


Intigral is a censorship specialist:

http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-gentle-touch-of-censorship

---o0o---

The digital media company, which provides digital TV channels and
video-on-demand for the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), has a "live
censorship" room and sophisticated editing facilities to remove content
deemed offensive.

---o0o---

According to Wikipedia, Saudi Telecom is owned by the Saudi government.

Dan Murphy, Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor,
has commented on Wikipediocracy, quoting Jimbo's response last month to the
proposed UK "snoopers charter", saying that the Saudi government is far
more invasive than anything that was proposed for the UK:

---o0o---

http://wikipediocracy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=20262#p20262

Wales' Wikimedia Foundation has just entered into an agreement with the
telecoms provider of a government that routinely snoops on its citizens
online, in far more invasive and frightening ways than mooted for the UK.
Reading between the lines, it is collaborating with the Saudi government's
main web censor in writing code. The Saudi government makes encryption like
Wales "threatened" the UK with in September strictly illegal and brought
Blackberry to heel over this issue. The Saudi government routinely tracks
down the identities of internet users and harasses them. Any Saudi who has
something critical to write about the monarchy or Saudi history would be
very, very foolish to edit Wikipedia, particularly via Saudi Telecom. That
would be very dangerous. It is almost criminally irresponsible to encourage
young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential
consequences.

---o0o---

Any comment?

In other news, it has also just been announced today that the UAE have
launched their own online encyclopedia, modelled on Wikipedia:

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/uae-launches-its-answer-wikipedia-476405.html

It will initially offer Arabic only, but other languages will apparently
follow in future.

Is the timing of these two announcements coincidental, or were WMF aware of
the UAE plans?

Andreas



On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 8:51 AM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 6:23 AM, geni <geniice@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On 14 October 2012 22:12, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Will access to Wikipedia for people in Saudi Arabia be uncensored?
>>
>> Very unlikely.
>>
>> > Has there been any agreement with Saudi Telecom on censorship?
>>
>> The Saudi's don't like to discuss their censorship policies with
>> outsiders. I would assume that they take the view that it is something
>> they can manage on their own.
>
>
>
> These questions are really for Jay to answer, rather than for us to
> speculate on.
>
> What I mean is: Is there any mention of censorship in the partnership
> agreement, one way or the other? Is the text of the agreement public? Would
> it be possible to make it public, for transparency? If not, why not?
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
Apologies if this is a stupid question, but I don't understand the
need for a partnership between the Wikipedia Foundation and the Saudi
Telecom Company (STC).

If STC wants not to charge its customers for accessing Wikipedia, in
what way does it need the help of the Foundation to achieve that?

Sarah

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:33 AM, Sarah <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:

> Apologies if this is a stupid question, but I don't understand the
> need for a partnership between the Wikipedia Foundation and the Saudi
> Telecom Company (STC).
>
> If STC wants not to charge its customers for accessing Wikipedia, in
> what way does it need the help of the Foundation to achieve that?


Hi Sarah

The partnership is part of a larger initiative[1] - the page provides a
list of countries and carriers where this partnership exists, it includes,
Orange, in Kenya, Niger, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Telenor in Monte Negro, dtac
in Thailand and now STC is KSA.

The partnership with the telecom companies provides free access through
either Wikipedia Zero or mobile Wikipedia in different languages to
millions of users who might not have access to these services. The listed
page mentions that the partnership does not involve any financial deal to
provide this access. I'm not aware of the particulars but the partnership
might have just focused on providing some technical help and a point
of interaction to facilitate the deal. It's a good
deal considering millions of people get free access, who would have had
limited access and use of Wikipedia before.

It was part of the focus for the Global Development department and WMF, to
provide better access in these countries in the developing world, under the
previously-used and inappropriate title of "Global South".

Regards
Theo

[1]
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#Where_is_Wikipedia_free_to_access.3F
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 1:33 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:33 AM, Sarah <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Apologies if this is a stupid question, but I don't understand the
> > need for a partnership between the Wikipedia Foundation and the Saudi
> > Telecom Company (STC). ... [snip]
>
> Hi Sarah
>
> The partnership is part of a larger initiative[1] - the page provides a
> list of countries and carriers where this partnership exists, it includes,
> Orange, in Kenya, Niger, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Telenor in Monte Negro, dtac
> in Thailand and now STC is KSA. ... [snip]
>
> Regards
> Theo
>
> [1]
>
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#Where_is_Wikipedia_free_to_access.3F
>

Many thanks, Theo.

Sarah
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
Hi Sarah,

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM, Sarah <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:

> Apologies if this is a stupid question, but I don't understand the
> need for a partnership between the Wikipedia Foundation and the Saudi
> Telecom Company (STC).
>
> If STC wants not to charge its customers for accessing Wikipedia, in
> what way does it need the help of the Foundation to achieve that?
>

This is not a stupid question...actually my wife asked me the same thing :)

To implement a zero-rated version of Wikipedia we engage and work directly
with an operator on multiple levels. Besides spending time with their
business/marketing and/or corporate social responsibility staff to take on
this program (because it does cost them time and resources) we work with on
the technical side to adapt, customize and debug a light-weight version of
Wikipedia (i.e., Wikipedia Zero) that their customers can access on their
network. Sometimes this includes, but is not limited to, creating a
country-specific landing page, developing banners so customers know they
are not paying when they are using it, and some feature development. We
also need to make sure that it works within their billing systems so
customers don't get charged for using it. Operators have varying technical
infrastructures (some completely different from others) so we have to make
adjustments for each one. Then we spend a lot time testing with them to
make sure it's running properly.

You can find more information here:

https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero

--Kul

--
Kul Wadhwa
Head of Mobile
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
"... some feature development". Please just tell us:

Is there anything about political or any other kind of censorship in the
WMF/STC agreement and/or the cooperation? Was the topic ever raised in the
discussions? If so, in which contexts? What was decided?

Is it part of the written agreement?

Were any other freedom of expression issues and related technical solutions
discussed, or addressed in the agreement?



On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:13 AM, Kul Wadhwa <kwadhwa@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi Sarah,
>
> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM, Sarah <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Apologies if this is a stupid question, but I don't understand the
> > need for a partnership between the Wikipedia Foundation and the Saudi
> > Telecom Company (STC).
> >
> > If STC wants not to charge its customers for accessing Wikipedia, in
> > what way does it need the help of the Foundation to achieve that?
> >
>
> This is not a stupid question...actually my wife asked me the same thing :)
>
> To implement a zero-rated version of Wikipedia we engage and work directly
> with an operator on multiple levels. Besides spending time with their
> business/marketing and/or corporate social responsibility staff to take on
> this program (because it does cost them time and resources) we work with on
> the technical side to adapt, customize and debug a light-weight version of
> Wikipedia (i.e., Wikipedia Zero) that their customers can access on their
> network. Sometimes this includes, but is not limited to, creating a
> country-specific landing page, developing banners so customers know they
> are not paying when they are using it, and some feature development. We
> also need to make sure that it works within their billing systems so
> customers don't get charged for using it. Operators have varying technical
> infrastructures (some completely different from others) so we have to make
> adjustments for each one. Then we spend a lot time testing with them to
> make sure it's running properly.
>
> You can find more information here:
>
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero
>
> --Kul
>
> --
> Kul Wadhwa
> Head of Mobile
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
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> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
Hi Andreas,

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:

> "... some feature development". Please just tell us:
>
> Is there anything about political or any other kind of censorship in the
> WMF/STC agreement and/or the cooperation? Was the topic ever raised in the
> discussions? If so, in which contexts? What was decided?
>

*There are absolutely no provisions in our partnership to block or censor
the content of our projects. We would not consider any requests from
any partner
to block or censor content*.

>
> Is it part of the written agreement?
>

No

>
> Were any other freedom of expression issues and related technical solutions
> discussed, or addressed in the agreement?
>

No


--Kul

--
Kul Wadhwa
Head of Mobile
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 1:13 AM, Kul Wadhwa <kwadhwa@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi Andreas,
>
> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > "... some feature development". Please just tell us:
> >
> > Is there anything about political or any other kind of censorship in the
> > WMF/STC agreement and/or the cooperation? Was the topic ever raised in
> the
> > discussions? If so, in which contexts? What was decided?
> >
>
> *There are absolutely no provisions in our partnership to block or censor
> the content of our projects. We would not consider any requests from
> any partner
> to block or censor content*.



Thanks. :)

Did STC or Intigral ever express an intention to censor Wikipedia content
themselves?

Was that topic ever raised by either WMF or STC/Intigral in the discussions?

Do you know whether STC/Intigral will or will not censor Wikipedia content
for Saudi mobile phone users?
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM, Kul Wadhwa <kwadhwa@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi Sarah,
>
> This is not a stupid question...actually my wife asked me the same thing :)
>
> To implement a zero-rated version of Wikipedia we engage and work directly
> with an operator on multiple levels. Besides spending time with their
> business/marketing and/or corporate social responsibility staff to take on
> this program (because it does cost them time and resources) we work with on
> the technical side to adapt, customize and debug a light-weight version of
> Wikipedia (i.e., Wikipedia Zero) that their customers can access on their
> network. ... [snip]


Thanks, Kul, that was very helpful.

Sarah
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East [ In reply to ]
There has been an article on heise.de about this:

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Saudi-Arabien-Mobile-Wikipedia-kostenlos-aber-zensiert-1730843.html

Translated quote:

The English Wikipedia documents a list of 141 articles that are apparently
blocked in Saudi Arabia. Many of these have sexual content, but they also
include articles on Muhammad caricatures and an Arabic article on
evolution. The block can be relatively easily circumvented, by using a
https connection to access the article, but this is unlikely to work when
using the mobile phone offer.

Original German quote:

In der englischsprachigen Wikipedia ist eine Liste mit 141 Artikeln
dokumentiert, die in Saudi-Arabien gesperrt sein sollen. Darunter sind
viele mit sexuellen Inhalten, aber auch Artikel über die
Mohammed-Karikaturen und ein arabischer Artikel über die Evolution. Diese
Sperre lässt sich mit dem Artikelabruf über eine https-Verbindung relativ
leicht umgehen, was allerdings bei dem Mobilfunkangebot nicht funktionieren
dürfte.
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