August 26, 2004

Iran blocks three reformist websites

Now AFP reports that Internet access to three websites close to Iran's leading reformist party has been blocked by the authorities, prompting a protest by the party leader.

Internet access to three websites close to Iran's leading reformist party has been blocked by the authorities, prompting a protest by the party leader.

The sites, Rouydad (Happening), Emrouz (Today) and Bamdad (Dawn), all close to the Islamic Iran Participation Front, have been inaccessible at least since Sunday.

On Rouydad, the only page which could be accessed but only through certain internet servers, was a letter of protest from the Front's general secretary, Mohammad Reza Khatami, the brother of reformist president Mohammad Khatami, to the authorities.

Reza Khatami addressed his protest to the vice-president in charge of justice issues, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, saying that the police bureau of public morals had put pressure on the service providers to block access to the sites.

"Apparently, several internet service providers have decided to block access to the Rouydad site after receiving threats ... even though the committee set up by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution is not opposed to its existence."

The committee in question was set up to filter out pornographic websites and those politically hostile to the Islamic Republic.

Reza Khatami added that several people working for Rouydad had received summonses by telephone.

In recent weeks, the Teheran authorities have shut down two reformist daily newspapers, Nassim Sabah, and Vaghayeh Etefaghieh, while a third, Jomhouriat, announced on Monday it was ceasing publication after its managing editor was summonsed.

The closures are the latest in a long line over the years, which have also been marked by the arrest of scores of journalists, and the conservatives' victory in this year's elections has lead to fears in the profession of a further crackdown.

The press freedom watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) expressed its "deep concern" at what it called "the measures taken by the Iranian authorities to limit access to internet sites".

Posted by hoder at 01:00 PM | TrackBack

August 23, 2004

Technicians Detained to Give Out Server Password

In latest developments, officials have detained several staff and web technicians in indepedent companies who have served or helped the previousely banned reformist websites, Emrooz and Rooydad, in order to gain access to the hosting accounts that were used to serve those websites. They have apparently siezed control of the servers, have shut them down and have deleted all the information on them.

Reza Khatami, chief of the major reformist party, Jebhe-ye Mosharekat, has protested to the new wave of pressure in a public letter to the vice-president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who is in charge of the legal and parliamentary relations and also has a popular website himself. The letter now appears on one of the remaining addresses,, which is not under control of the agents.

Frustrating news is that no news agency or paper has reported on this in English. However, among the reliable Persian sources, BBC Persian and Reporters sans frontieres has covered it.

Posted by hoder at 08:03 AM | TrackBack

August 21, 2004

Blacklist Verified by Research Group

OpenNet Initiative, a collaborative research group, has found that Iran is engaged in extensive Internet content filtering beyond just pornography, including many political, religious, social, and webblogs.

The report which is published as their fourth bulletin is titled as "Internet Content Filtering in Iran: Verification of Reported Banned Websites."

Posted by hoder at 08:49 AM | TrackBack