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Iran: Regime steps up censorship and online disruption to block protests

Iran protests: An Iranian protester throws a stone at riot police during an anti-government demonstration, under the pretext of rallies supporting Arab uprisings, in Tehran on February 14, 2011.

The authorities in Iran have increased censorship in a bid to prevent Monday’s anti-government protests, blocking independent or pro-opposition websites and other electronic media. Broadband speed has greatly slowed in major cities as in the run-up to previous anti-regime demonstrations or opposition events.

Mobile phone and text-message traffic has been badly disrupted and the Persian calendar month “bahman” has been added to blocked keywords in an effort to reduce calls for Tuesday’s protests (February 15 is Bahman 25), Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported.

The stepped-up censorship and cyber-attacks began on February 10 in an effort to prevent organisation and reporting of the demonstrations. Two news sites, www.fararu.com and sahamnews.org (the latter close to opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi), were blocked.

Satellite TV broadcasts to Iran have been jammed and the BBC officially protested on February 10. The jamming first targeted news about the revolution in Egypt and then was extended on February 12 to all BBC and Voice of America broadcasts, which were either cut off or became hard to pick up.

Date posted: February 15, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 155