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Iranian Bloggers Angry over New Web Restrictions

May 27, 2008 07:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Iran’s recent move to block access to certain Web sites on women’s issues and human rights has bloggers and activists decrying censorship.

30-Second Summary

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The restrictions, which will affect dozens of Web sites, were announced last week by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture’s supervisory board for the media, reported The Washington Post.

“It’s like a big attack,” said Parvin Ardalan, who works for feminist Web site Change4Equality.net. “The authorities want to silence us.” Her site has started a petition to gather 1 million signatures to get the government to change what many say are discriminatory laws against women.

Iran, which in the past has been called one of the “enemies of the Internet” by human rights group Reporters Without Borders, has a history of Internet censorship. The government has blocked sites run by opposition groups and dissidents, as well as pornography sites.

In 2006, the Iranian government blocked access to some of the world’s most popular Web sites, such as Amazon.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, IMDB.com and the New York Times, in an effort to limit foreign influence.

The OpenNet Initiative, an Internet censorship watchdog group that plans to do a study on the Iranian blogosphere, says that since 2000, Iran has developed an extensive technical filtering system to regulate the Internet.

“Iranian authorities have detained dozens of people for publishing material online. In addition, Iran has moved to contain the Internet within heightened and more explicit regulation, accommodating aggressive online censorship policies through a complex system of political networks and their affiliated government institutions,” according to the OpenNet Initiative Web site.

Headline Link: ‘Iranian Activists Criticize New Restrictions on Web Sites’

Background: Internet use in Iran

Related Topics: The Great Firewall of China, Internet restrictions around the world, Saudi Arabian blogger

Reference: Monitoring Internet censorship

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