Iran: Internet repression stems from fear

Responding to news today (4 December) that the Iranian authorities have blocked access to major websites including the New York Times, Wikipedia and YouTube, Amnesty International expressed serious concern about the rise of internet repression in the country.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“The internet is a powerful tool allowing people around the world to share information and opinions. It is sad that the Iranian authorities are so afraid of this that they deny Iranian people access to information that you and I can find at the click of a mouse.

“We know that sites with news and human rights content are routinely blocked. Also that police monitor these ‘banned’ sites to see who is trying to visit them. This information is sometimes used against them in court.

“More sinister still are arrests of people who send information about human rights out of Iran, or who write about the situation in the country. Amnesty is appealing for the release of blogger Kianoosh Sanjari, arrested in October and at risk of torture.”

Amnesty is asking people to write to the Iranian authorities demanding the release of Kianossh Sanjari. See www.amnesty.org.uk/irrepressible for more details.

The call is part of Amnesty International’s irrepressible.info campaign, which highlights the rise of internet censorship and the cases of individual prisoners of conscience, imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their beliefs online. Amnesty is asking people to turn censorship on itself by putting a unique badge on their own site or email signature. The badge contains excerpts from websites that governments have censored for political reasons – so every person that takes part, will be helping to broadcast censored content that the authorities have tried to repress.

Buy: Undermining freedom of expression in China an Amnesty International report providing an overview of the use of the Internet as a tool to deny freedom of expression in China.

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