Thursday, July 22, 2004

Iran Renews Crackdown On Internet

Reuters is reporting that Tehran is considering drafting new laws to 'regulate' that country's internet access, as well as access to satellite tv stations:

The Islamic state has been seeking ways to control Iranians' access to external influences via satellite TV and the World Wide Web for years.

Satellite dishes and receivers are officially prohibited, although enforcement is sporadic and an estimated 3 million homes receive satellite TV.

Fatemeh Rahbar, head of the media section of parliament's Cultural Committee, told IRNA: "Iranian society is using the Internet and satellite dishes. Therefore, the only solution now is organising (their use)."

Rahbar gave no details on how parliament planned to do this.

Iranian authorities are particularly concerned about the "corrupting" influence of Western music and film channels and about a number of California-based channels run by Iranian exiles, which they accuse of stirring up unrest against the country's clerical leaders.

The government has promoted Internet use and some 5 million Iranians now log on regularly, officials say. But Internet service providers are required to block access to sites containing pornographic material or anti-regime content.

Iran's hardline Guardian Council legislative watchdog last year rejected a bill that would have eased the widely flouted ban on satellite TV by allowing certain channels to be viewed using officially approved receivers.
It's a bit off topic for this site, but as a fervent believer that Iran is, much more than Iraq ever was, the true Nemesis in our War on Terror, I thought I'd mention it here. For more on Iran, be sure to read anything Michael Ledeen has to say on the subject.