Science & technology
Minister admits Iran cannot block Facebook forever
Publish Date: Mar 04, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

IRAN will not be able to keep up forever its ban on legal access to Internet hubs such as Facebook, which has four million Iranian users, Culture Minister Ali Janati said Sunday.

Such remarks by an Iranian official would have been unimaginable before President Hassan Rouhani, a reputed moderate, took office in August with a vow for more freedom.

"Four million Iranians are on Facebook, and we have restricted it," said Janati.

"We cannot restrict the advance of (such technology) under the pretext of protecting Islamic values," said the minister.

Access to the popular social networking site -- along with others which Iranian authorities regard as un-Islamic, immoral or undermining the Islamic establishment -- is obstructed by a massive filtering mechanism.

But tech-savvy Iranians have resorted to measures, known as anti-filters, to circumvent the restrictions.

Janati drew a parallel with a ban on fax machines and video tapes and players imposed the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"If we look back, we see many of the actions we took after the revolution were ridiculous."

Rouhani has adopted a policy that promises greater tolerance on social, cultural and media issues -- a vow that helped him beat his conservative opponents in the presidential election last year.

But the government has faced resistance from hardliners resisting a reversal in such policies.

A committee of 13 members determines what online content can be reached on Iran's Internet, which is notoriously slow.

Unapproved sites are put under the filtering system. The ban includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and numerous other sites, including blogs.

On Sunday, Janati suggested that the government was working to remove the online constraints.

"The six ministers who are members of the (filtering) committee have clearly stated that we cannot continue to isolate ourselves from the world," he said.

But, he added it would take time.

"However, (filtering) is one of those issues whose solution requires time. And it will be resolved in time," Janati said.

Despite the bans, several Iranian officials are active on social networking sites.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has attracted nearly 850,000 Facebook followers by posting regular updates in Persian, and he operates the only "verified" account of an Iranian official on Twitter.

He also has a YouTube channel.

Several pages are also apparently run by Iranian officials, including a popular Twitter account, @HassanRouhani, believed to belong to the president's office.

Iran's ultimate authority, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also has an online presence, with a Twitter account in Farsi and a Facebook page (facebook.com/www.Khamenei.ir) dedicated to him.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Spacewalk to go ahead on Sunday despite helmet leak
Two US astronauts will go ahead with a spacewalk this weekend despite a flaw in one of the spacesuits that allowed water to seep into the helmet, the US space agency NASA has said....
Sky-scanning instrument finds new galaxies
A new instrument on Europe's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has produced the most detailed 3-D view yet of the deep Universe....
Google unveils reorganization in Europe
Google said Wednesday it was launching a reorganization of its European operations in the face of a tougher regulatory environment....
Twitter boosts effort to stop spoofing, data leaks
Twitter said Thursday it was ramping up efforts to crack down on impersonation on the messaging platform as well as the leaking of personal, private data....
Researchers create
Australian researchers say they have created two jet engines using 3D printing in what is described a world-first....
Japan companies to jointly work on self-driving car technology
Japan's big three automakers will team up with electronics giants and the government in a bid to propel the country into the front ranks of self-driving car technology....
Do you think government is doing enough to contain the typhoid out break?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter