Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, November 13, 2006

Iranian government places restrictions on internet use

Recent severe crackdowns on the Iranian press may have illustrated the Islamic regime’s zeal for inhibiting any kind of criticism against their institutions and policies, but a new governmental order poses further restrictions on a less easily monitored medium. A law under decree of the Communications Ministry restricts Iran’s Internet service providers from supplying internet connections faster than 128 kilobytes per second (Kbps), although the international standard is 512 Kbps or higher. Higher speeds are required for more advanced internet applications such as VOIP communication which would diminish the government's strict control of the Iranian telecommunication system. Due to slower internet speeds, researchers and students will be hindered in their work as well.

The Iranian government’s rhetoric on certain civil liberties bears more resonances of Orwellian doublespeak than what the government practices in reality. According to a Washington Times report, government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham told IRNA, Iran’s state sponsored news agency, "the government welcomes criticism and assessment of its work by the media" and "defends the free circulation of information and opposes censorship, self-censorship and government pressure on the media," while he urged the Tehran Public Prosecutor Mr. Elham that “those who spread lies against the government should be prosecuted."

Iranian doublespeak also seems to have reaped benefits for the government internationally. Former president Khatami received an honorary PhD from St. Andrews in recognition of his pursuit of interfaith communication and understanding. Hossein Maleki, Iran's Representative to the Special Political Committee of the UN General Assembly spoke out against wealthy countries, which use their monopoly of the new media to “inflict damage” on the poorer countries.

Meanwhile Reporters without Borders ranked Iran 162 out of 168 countries surveyed in the 2006 World Press Freedom Index for its staunch oppression of the press.

For full story, click here.


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