Iran Blocks Millions Of Web Sites

    November 19, 2008

The Iranian government is currently blocking in excess of five million Web sites for hosting content that it deems as unethical and anti-Islamic.

During a conference in Iran, the Prosecutor General Abdolsamad Khoram Abadi said most of the sites were blocked because they "contained unethical content" such as pornography and anti-Islamic sentiment.

Iran Blocks Millions Of Web Sites

Ismail Radkani, a spokesman for the company that is blocking the Web sites in the country also spoke at the conference. He said more that a thousand Web sites were being "automatically" blocked in the country every month.

He said everyday 200-300 unethical sites were being automatically blocked according to ynetnews.

Iran has a population of about 71 million and has around 20 million Internet users. Iran is second only to Israel in its percentage of Internet users in the Middle East.

Most of the Internet users in Iran have found ways around the censored sites by using proxies and alternate addresses.

Abadi said the Internet is more of a threat than satellite dishes, which are banned in Iran, "because of the fact that the Internet is more accessible."

Iran has implemented a policy to require blogs and Web sites based in the country to be registered with the government. Many bloggers have ignored the requirement and only about 850 sites and blogs have registered.

In February of 2008 the Iranian parliament passed part of a bill against "computer crimes" which has led to protest by Internet users because of the harsh sentences it would enforce including jail time and execution.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Iran near the bottom of its worldwide press freedom index at 166 out of 173 countries.