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Iran Plugs YouTube
[December 06, 2006]

Iran Plugs YouTube

TMCnet Contributing Editor
 
In a fresh bout of censorship, the government of Iran has blacklisted file-sharing website YouTube.com and the online edition of New York Times.

When Internet users in Iran try to log in to the websites they are greeted with the message, “On the basis of the Islamic Republic of Iran laws, access to this Web site is not authorized.”

YouTube has been used as a medium by pro-reform liberal opposition groups like Mujahedeen-e-Khalq to circulate videos which disparage the Shiite cleric leadership. In addition the site is also being used for sharing Iranian pop music videos which are considered a “cultural invasion” by the extremist government.

Reporters Without Borders, a media rights group located in Paris has informed that the sites have remain blocked since Dec. 1.

The group has reported that the English version of Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia has also been blocked.


“Iranian Internet-users say that the Kurdish version of Wikipedia has been blocked by the authorities for several months,” reported Reporters Without Borders in a press release. “The online encyclopedia, which allows Internet-users to contribute to the content, is seen as a threat by governments which improperly control the media,” informed the group.

The hard-line government also banned fast Internet connections in October.

“The government is trying to create a digital border to stop culture and news coming from abroad - a vision of the Net which is worrying for the country’s future,” observed the press freedom crusader. “But, more generally it is a threat to the worldwide web which, instead of aiding understanding between peoples could be changed into a medium of intolerance.”

With the unbridled Internet bowdlerization in the country, Iran has earned the dubitable distinction of being featured in Reporters Without Borders’ list of the 13 enemies of the Internet. The other repressors on the list are China, Cuba, Syria, Egypt, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Vietnam.

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Divya Narain is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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