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Iran Offline11.05.2012 | 17:43
For global media Iranian internet is of no less interest than the nuclear program. Information that Iran will soon disconnect from the World Wide Web and create a closed cyberspace became a bombshell. Ministry of Communications of the IRI later explained that nothing like that would happen. Iranian authorities have many other ways to influence the network and its users. Nina Mamedova, head of the Iranian sector of the Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS, told GTimes about their methods of influence and how free the Internet in Iran is.
- President Ahmadinejad is blamed for the introduction of strict Internet censorship. Is this really so?
- After 2009, Internet resources and e-mail have been strictly censored in Iran. Sometimes they slow down the speed of the Internet, so it's hard to get access. Periodically, they introduce some other restrictions, which technically cannot be explained. The Iranians have faced a variety of obstacles in terms of access to the Internet. That happened until the parliamentary elections in Iran, held in 2012. After the elections to the Majlis it has become easier to work on the Internet. The speed was restored. I will not rule out that it will last until 2013, when presidential race starts in the IRI.
- What Internet resources are included in Iran's "black list"?
- Of course, Iran has a blacklist of sites. For example, it includes popular in Europe and the U.S. e-mail resource Gmail.com. The prohibition of this resource is connected to the fact that it was actively used by the organizers of mass unrest in the country a few years ago. The sites that distribute pornography and graphic violence are also prohibited, as it is in the United States. Electronic versions of newspapers, caught in the "black list", are also prohibited. However, from a technical point of view it is rather easy to break these locks.
Personally, I do not consider this prohibition the emergency measure. In addition, any Iranian knows how to get to one or another banned web site, how to find a particular document. In Iran, there is a considerable number of so-called reformist websites publishing "subversive" information.
- It is also reported that the current Iranian authorities are actively putting pressure on bloggers. Is it true?
- Iran has always been a technologically advanced nation. The massive use of the Internet there began earlier than in Russia. Of course, there are many bloggers and just active Internet users. Pro-Western opposition also enjoyed this factor. Bloggers, who sowed the opposition mood, communicated with each other through all available means: ICQ, Facebook, Twitter and so on. Social networks are very popular in Iran. Groups, in which people of very different views and beliefs gathered and spoke, also were created in these networks.
It's no a secret that the current information field has become a field of fierce struggle for the minds of people. Therefore, the IRI security services seriously deal with the Internet and pose possible barriers to informational intervention.
- April this year, Minister of Communications and Information of Iran Reza Tadzhipur stated Iran was building its isolated informational segment. Has this statement got some practical result?
- The idea of creating a national network has existed in Iran for a long time. Ministry of Communications and Information of the IRI just voiced it in April. Of course, there was no massive liquidation of the Internet. We, the scientists Iranists, freely communicate via the internet with our counterparts in the IRI. Anyone can read the Iranian sites.