Iran Bans Western Web Sites

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Iran yesterday blocked a number of top Web sites. Among them are YouTube, Web encyclopedia, Wikipedia and Amazon.com. Other sites that are being censored are the online movie database IMBD.com, news services like the New York Times and BBC Farsi.

The YouTube ban could be in response to a well-known Iranian soap opera actress for engaging in “indecent” behavior with a former boyfriend.

Reporters Without Borders a Paris based press rights group said,” 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”. The group also said that the Iranian government issued a ban on high-speed Internet connections in October.

The ban was ordered by senior judiciary officials in efforts to rid their country of western influences. This is in line with Iran’s Islamist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agenda.

Iran boasts a large number of online users. The estimated number is 7.5 million Internet users. They are second in the Middle East behind Israel. They also have a large number of bloggers, over 100,000 that are an alternative to Iran’s suppressed media outlets.

Reporters Without Borders says Iran is one of 13 countries to be considered “enemies of the Internet”. Among some of the countries known for known for online censorship are China, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Syria.

“The Iranian government policy is not an isolated case. It is getting closer and closer to that of the authorities in China, with particular stress being laid on the censorship of cultural output”, said Reporters Without Borders.

The Internet is not the only media that has been censored. Iranian publishing has also banned scores of books including classics from the west. Bloggers have also been intimidated by the government or jailed.

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Mike is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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