NewsSpecial WireIran steps up site censoring – watchdog

Iran steps up site censoring – watchdog

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Iran Focus: London, Dec. 06 – The international press freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders accused Iran of stepping of censorship of websites. Iran Focus

London, Dec. 06 – The international press freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders accused Iran of stepping of censorship of websites.

“Reporters Without Borders expressed deep concern for the future of the Internet in Iran where censorship is now the rule rather than the exception, after the video sharing website YouTube and that of the U.S. daily New York Times were added to the country’s blacklist”, the group said in a statement.

“The government is trying to create a digital border to stop culture and news coming from abroad – a vision of the Net which is worrying for the country’s future”, it said.

The group described Iran’s hard-line government of being a “threat” to the worldwide web which, instead of aiding understanding between peoples could be changed into a “medium of intolerance”.

Tests carried out by Reporters Without Borders confirmed that the YouTube (www.youtube.com) and the New York Times had been inaccessible in Iran since 1st December, it said.

In addition, the English version of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia was blocked from 1-3 December 2006. These steps come two months after Iran banned high-speed Internet access.

The head of the Agency for the Development of Information Technology in Iran, Vafa Ghafaryan, told the official news agency ISNA that the government planned to enhance surveillance of “harmful” text messages.

Iran is on the press freedom group’s list of 13 enemies of the Internet.

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