x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Flickr now available in the UAE, partially

Many photographers, amateur and professional alike, have given a warm welcome to the lifting of the ban on the photo-sharing website Flickr.

The TRA said Flickr was previously blocked because it included “some images which oppose the values and culture of the society”. Richard Drew / AP Photo
The TRA said Flickr was previously blocked because it included “some images which oppose the values and culture of the society”. Richard Drew / AP Photo

Many photographers, amateur and professional alike, have given a warm welcome to the lifting of the ban on the photo-sharing website Flickr. 

The site was unblocked on Monday, following talks between Yahoo!, which owns Flickr, and the UAE internet regulator. 

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority released a statement yesterday saying Flickr had previously been blocked because it "included some images which oppose the values and culture of the society".

It added, however, that "a partial block will remain active on some sections that provide improper content". 

The amateur photographer Edwin Retutal heard about the lifting of the ban on the website of the Lightsource Filipino Photographers, a club of which he is a member. 

The IT engineer said he was a loyal Flickr user until he moved to the UAE, three years ago. He has been using the site Multiply.com as a substitute, but said that, like most media-sharing sites, it pales in comparison to Flickr because he is not able to upload high-resolution pictures to it at no cost.

"Everyone in the club is ecstatic and is already taking the time to move files to Flickr," he said. Professionals welcomed the move, too. Oz Newcombe, a freelance photographer, said he was "very, very happy". 

The ban had left him unable to access images sent to him by contacts. "I often get e-mails from people who are trying to show me things which I want to see that are not pornographic or should not be banned," he said.

"I need to see that to grow as a photographer." Mr Newcombe, who has been in the UAE for 11 years but has been coming to the Middle East for 30, said he understood the reasoning behind the ban, but pointed out that the vast bulk of content was not inappropriate.

kshaheen@thenational.ae