Posts Tagged ‘Internet censorship’

Cyber censorship,free access to the Internet,Internet censorship,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

The Monument of the MEK martyrs - Ashraf 3 - Albania

Iran’s Main State-run Daily Expresses Fear About MEK’s Popularity

The Monument of the MEK martyrs - Ashraf 3 - Albania

The Martyrs Monument in Ashraf 3, the main headquarter of the MEK in Albania, marks the memory tens of thousands of MEK fallen heroes and heroines, who lost their lives to the dictatorship ruling Iran, standing for freedom and democracy in Iran.

Recently, contrary to decades of silence, inevitably, the Iranian regime is admitting the growing popularity and influence of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK / PMOI), particularly amongst the youth.

MEK peaceful demonstration in Tehran-May 2, 1981

The “Mothers” demonstration, on May 2, 1981, when over 200,000 supporters of the MEK, took it to the streets of Tehran to protest the killing of 2 teenage girls (MEK supporters), who were shot dead for distributing information behind a stand in one of the streets in Mazandaran.

“Due to deep negligence of officials in culture and cyberspace field, MEK has penetrated deeply into our homes and their impact is being felt; this is one in a hundred problems we face in disorderly cyberspace in Iran.” Kayhan, known as the mouthpiece of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, expressed fear of MEK’s popularity among the youth and added, “MEK easily parade in cyberspace and can promote their thoughts and influence the minds of our youth and teenagers… Just 1,500 of their units are promoting MEK’s ideas to the public round the clock.”

Kayhan projected the Iranian regime’s fraudulent activities on social media, that has led to the closure of thousands of its fake accounts, and whose focus was on emanating disinformation on the MEK, on the MEK itself and accused it of using fake accounts as it usually does to deflect attention to its malign activities. It also complained that the “Telegram” messenger app and other social media platforms are “magnifying” MEK’s messages. It wrote, “MEK’s influence is greater than the state-run media… Support by messaging platforms and social media for the context of MEK’s messages have made this situation even worse… social media and the messaging platforms magnify MEK’s activities.”

The paper implicitly called for repressive and filtering measures to impose new limitations on Iranians free access to the Internet and wrote, “If we had the technology and boosted our domestic messaging apps, we wouldn’t need to depend on our enemies so that the well-known terrorists can contact our children.”

The Iranian regime has relied on censorship and Internet filtering to counter the MEK’s popularity, particularly among the youth.

The unrestricted use of the Internet and social media has become a serious challenge to the mullahs’ regime. The availability of encrypted messaging applications has given the Iranian people the ability to bypass regime filtering to share news and information.

Iranian Regime denies public the Internet access

Internet access is filtered in Iran under the ruling religious dictatorship

As the Iranian people lack any faith in state-run media, they increasingly turn to the Internet and social media networks for information. Over the past year, the MEK has successfully leveraged social media to organize protests and spotlight the regime’s corruption, among other measures. This has helped foster the growth of the protest movement within Iran and has caused panic among the mullahs, who fear widespread rebellion and the ultimate overthrow of the regime.

 

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Internet censorship,Iran human rights,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

Censorship in Iran

Iranian Regime Steps up Attempts to Police Internet Access

Censorship in Iran

Iranian regime under “moderate” Rouhani filters Internet.

The Internet and social media have played a vital role in the growing resistance movement. Since the massive popular uprising of December 2017, the MEK has harnessed the power of social media to spread the news of the regime’s corruption and to organize protests and resistance activities. The regime has responded to this threat to its power by tightening restrictions to online media.

Regime officials have made a number of recent comments indicating that they plan to further restrict the public’s access to online information.

The mullahs’ Assembly of Experts released a statement on January 17th, which contained ominous language about the regime’s plans for the future of Internet censorship. It read:

“The Ministry of Communications, the High Council of Cyberspace, and all related institutions should actively engage in establishing order in the cyberspace, confront unethical issues and psychological warfare by the enemy, and take serious steps in monitoring and confronting the opposition and unethical networks.”

The regime has also expanded the role of its military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in policing the Internet, which has alarmed many human rights and Internet freedom activists.

In April, regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed former IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari as head of the IRGC Baghiatallah Cultural and Social Headquarters (BCSH). Jafari will lead the organization in its mission to fight the “soft war” supposedly taking place between the Iranian regime and the West.

Current Restrictions to Online Access

The Iranian regime has taken a special interest in the online activities of students, who tend to be more politically active and likely to seek out uncensored information on the Internet and through social media.

On April 21, 2019, the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council’s Committee for the “Islamization of Universities” passed an amendment to its academic disciplinary regulations prohibiting university students from participating in “unethical” online activities. However, the definition of unethical was left undefined, leaving officials free to arbitrarily punish students.

Jamasb Nozari, director of the state-run Academic Affairs Organization, commented on the amendment in an April 26, 2019 interview with the state-run Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).

“Publishing unethical photos or committing immoral acts in cyberspace and on information-sharing networks will result in disciplinary action against students,” he said.

The new rule does not define what is and isn’t “unethical,” giving the authorities free rein to make arbitrary decisions.

The regime enforces its draconian censorship measures on the broader population as well. For example, last year the Iranian regime banned the popular messaging app Telegram. Subscribers of

Iran’s Hamrah Aval mobile phone company who attempt to access Telegram without using encryption software are now redirected to a website where the following message appears:

“By the order of the Prosecutor General, accessing this content is prohibited and in violation of the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Your device specifications and internet identification have been recorded.”

Failure of the Regime’s Restrictions

Tech-savvy Iranians have been able to successfully bypass the regime’s restrictions through the use of VPNs and other encryption software, which has flustered regime officials.

On January 21, regime president Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that efforts to censor the Internet had so far been unsuccessful. He said:

“Well, we were unsuccessful in some of our efforts in recent years,” he said. “We thought it is under our control. We thought it would be filtered if we just ordered so…. What should we do with VPNs?”

Four days prior to Rouhani’s statement, Ahmad Khatami, the spokesman for the board of directors of Assembly of Experts, voiced similar concerns, saying that “everyone agreed that the damages inflicted by the cyberspace were serious.”

Although it is encouraging that the regime has failed in its efforts to restrict access to the Internet so far, the battle is far from over. State-run media has recently begun reporting on a new state agency, known as the Prosecutor General’s Cyber Division Rapid Reaction Center. This agency, which has opened branch offices in cities including Mashhad, Ardabil, and Khorramabad since the beginning of 2019, appears to have the mission of monitoring and censoring online content and activities.

To date, regime officials have not released any information about the agency or its purpose, although some have speculated that it could have been created to more effectively carry out the judiciary’s orders to block websites and apps.

Staff writer

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Internet censorship,Iran Protests,MEK,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Censorship in Iran

The Mullahs Want to Censor the Internet—Except When They Are the Ones Being Censored

Censorship in Iran

Internet access is filtered in Iran under the ruling religious dictatorship.

The unrestricted use of the Internet and social media has become a serious issue for the mullahs’ regime. The availability of encrypted messaging applications has given the Iranian people the ability to bypass regime filtering to share news and information.

As the Iranian people continue to lose faith in state-run media, they increasingly turn to the Internet and social media sources for information. Over the past year, the MEK has successfully used social media to organize protests and spread information about the regime’s corruption. This has helped foster the growth of the protest movement within Iran and has caused panic among the mullahs, who fear widespread rebellion and the ultimate overthrow of the ruling regime.

Regime Friday prayer imams, who are considered the mouthpieces of the mullahs, repeat the Supreme Leader’s rhetoric to people across the country in their sermons each week. Through these sermons, it is possible to see the regime’s current fears and insecurities.

Last week, Lotfollah Dejkam, the Friday prayer imam in Shiraz, Fars Province, complained about Internet access in a confusing and contradictory sermon.

The Internet Must Be Censored

 

Dejkam first argued that the Internet must be censored in order to prevent people from freely exchanging information, saying, “On the Internet, there is conduct that must be observed carefully. It is not right to allow people to say and do whatever they want on the Internet.

The imam went on to echo the regime’s position that the FATA (the regime’s Internet police) and other repressive authorities should step up their efforts to prevent the free flow of information.

“It is an area in which both FATA units and the judiciary can get involved in. There should undoubtedly be some kind of control by the authorities,” Dejkam said.

The Internet Must Be Free

In the same sermon, Dejkam complained that Google and Instagram had removed or blocked accounts belonging to regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) leaders, arguing that regime leaders should be free to speak online without fear of censorship.

“They were talking so much about the internet being free! It is free! People can say whatever they want. But they block even one sentence from us, against the leader [Khamenei, whose Instagram account was briefly suspended] and others [IRGC commanders whose Instagram accounts were blocked]. Let them be heard. Those who close down these accounts are cowards,” Dejkam said indignantly.

He went on to threaten the international social media giants, saying, “they cannot achieve anything through silencing us.”

Dejkam and the regime’s leadership would do well to take heed of these words. The Iranian people will not be silenced. The regime’s attempts to censor online communication have failed and will continue to fail. The MEK has provided an alternative to state-run propaganda and has given Iranians a place to share their outrage about the regime’s corruption and to organize for regime change.

Regime Reacts to Implications of IRGC Terrorist Listing with Growing Alarm and Confusion

Meanwhile, social media platforms such as Facebook are removing the accounts of IRGC leaders in the wake of the designation of the Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Facebook, which owns Instagram, has one billion members and is one of the largest corporations in the world. The regime’s threats to both its own people and to social media platforms are hollow and desperate.

Staff writer

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